Refugee & Immigration Committee

general information

HOPE is pleased to be working with Samaritas and co-sponsoring families from their New American Family program. See below for donations needed as well as updates.


  • Donations Needed - While Samaritas will be obtaining the larger furniture needed to outfit Mwajuma’s new home, we at Hope are collecting smaller household items: kitchen supplies/dishes, towels, bedding, rugs, lamps, fans, etc.  Please contact Jessica Beamer. Donations can be brought into the office Monday-Thursday from 9:00am-3:00pm or can be place in the Service Team storage area - behind the curtain at the bottom of the ramp.


Questions

Contact Jessica Beamer or call the office at 248-553-7170.

update:  02-19-20

Since the last posting, Bahati has begun one job working at a café in Hamtramck and both Walengamina and Bahati have been trained for and matched with clients to provide one-on-one respite care through ProCare. In addition, Bahati graduated from her sewing class with employable skills and has begun working towards her GED online.


As noted in the last posting, Bahati’s sister and her sister’s family were approved for refugee resettlement and arrived on December 18th. Since that time, they have been sharing a two-bedroom apartment with Bahati and Antony. However, in two weeks Bahati’s sister, Mwajuma, and her children will be moving into an apartment owned by the same landlord and located right next door to Bahati so they can continue to support each other. While Samaritas will be obtaining the larger furniture needed to outfit Mwajuma’s new home, we at Hope are collecting smaller household items: kitchen supplies/dishes, towels, bedding, rugs, lamps, fans, etc. Please contact Jessica Beamer if you have items to donate.


Five of the six children are enrolled in school, preschool through 9th grade, and are doing even better than anticipated despite the language barrier. They are learning English and making strides in all subjects, although finding math even more difficult than English -- Rafael passed all his semester 1 high school classes and made significant improvements in history, science, and English. Yay Rafael!


While our official co-sponsorship has ended, we continue to offer friendship and guidance to Bahati, Antony, Walengamina, Rafael, and Feza as well as a helping hand to Mwajuma and her children, Evariste, Grace, and Maarufu. Please continue to watch for periodic updates and opportunities involving our New American friends.


Pictures:

  • #1: Walengamina and her children
  • #2: Finishing a morning of dental work provided by Fisher Family Dentistry
  • #3: Evariste, Grace, and Maarufu - Bahati's niece and nephews who arrived in the US on December 18th
  • #4: Bahati's sister Mwajuma
  • #5: Bahati's niece Grace modeling some new clothes
  • #6: Bahati speaking at her sewing class graduation
  • #7: Bahati proudly showing her certificate to Karen and Charlie Weaver

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Update: 01-13-19

Both Bahati and Walengamina are in the final stages of preparation for starting jobs with ProCare out of Bingham Farms.  They will be providing one on one in home respite care for elderly, disabled, or children.  They have completed their paperwork, cpr, online training and are waiting to be matched with a client.  In addition, in mid-January Bahati will graduate from her sewing classes and will be qualified to do sideline work sewing for others.


Since the last update, Bahati has had a dryer installed at her apartment allowing her to both wash and dry her clothing the “American way.” This dryer was paid for by the generous donations of Hope friends.


Walengamina began online English classes (a far cry from the days when turning on the computer was daunting for her) and has shown significant improvement in her English language skills as a result.  Bahati has passed the written driver’s test and now has a learner’s permit.  Bahati will be starting evening driving classes this month with the goal of obtaining her Michigan Driver’s License and, eventually, her CDL for employment as a driver.


Bahati and Antony received an incredible Christmas gift when her sister, Mwajuma, and her sister’s three children were approved for immigration to the U.S. and arrived in Detroit on December 18th after a long, exhausting trip from the refugee camp in Tanzania.  Two Hope friends joined Bahati and Antony as well as Samaritas case worker, Brittany Olson, at the airport to welcome Mwajuma, Evariste, Grace, and Maarufu.  Currently Mwajuma’s family is sharing an apartment with Bahati and Antony.  Thank you to the generosity of Hope friends for providing the funds for coats, shoes, outfits, pjs, underwear, and socks for Mwajuma’s family upon their arrival.


While our official co-sponsorship of both Bahati and Walengamina and their children ended with the end of 2019, we continue our informal support and our friendship.  They consider their Hope friends their local family and Hope church their other church home.  We celebrate with Walengamina, Rafael, Feza, Bahati, and Antony for the challenges they have overcome and are thankful for their trust in us as we walk alongside them as they embrace their role as New Americans.  


In the exact written words of Bahati and Walengamina in the card they sent to Hope:

Dear Hope Friends,

I thank you for (everithing) you did for Anthony and me.  (Marry) Christmas and Happy New Year.  

Thank you,

Bahati

Thank you for (everwthing).

Walengamina Eb.

Picture #1:  Bahati with nephew, Maarufu

Picture #2:  Bahati and Antony welcoming their family at Detroit Metro Airport

Picture #3:  Mwajuma modeling her new shoes

Picture #4: Grace modeling her new dress and shoes

Picture #5, #6, & #7:  Walengamina, Rafael, and Feza with their Christmas tree and gifts from Hope

Picture #8 & #9:  Hope friends with Walengamina and Bahati at the Women's Advent Tea in December


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update:  11-19-19

While our official co-sponsorship ends with the end of December, we continue to offer friendship and support to Walengamina, Bahati, Rafael, Antony, and Feza as they train for jobs, attend school, learn English, get medical needs addressed, and adjust to their first winter of snow and ice.  


Currently, Bahati is finishing a sewing class to prepare for a job using that skill.  Walengamina in beginning an online English class now that winter has arrived and it is harder to get to the library.


Rafael, Antony, and Feza attend school each day which involves a lot of walking for everyone except Antony who takes a bus.  So far the snow and ice are a fun novelty (thank you to Hope members and friends who have assisted them in acquiring winter clothing of all kinds).


All five New American friends have joined Hope at the Three Cedars Farm outing and Trunk or Treat as well.  In addition, they will be joining in many of Hope’s Christmas festivities so be sure to welcome them when you see them at church events.


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update: 10-07-19

Now that all three children are in school, both Walengamina and Bahati are looking for daytime work in Hamtramck that would not require them to have a car. Their English is continuing to improve as they continue their English classes and interactions in the community. Their Michigan cash assistance is very meager or has ended so they are living on food assistance and the waning dollars from their Samaritas and Hope co-sponsorship assistance. This is a very difficult time for both women as the honeymoon period of life in Michigan has ended and they are facing employment and their first Michigan winter.


Walengamina, Rafael, Feza, Bahati, and Antony will be joining Hope at Three Cedars Farm on October 13th and at Hope’s Trunk or Treat on October 30th. Please go up to them and welcome them when you see them at these events. They consider Hope their church family and want to make friends with everyone. You will be impressed with how much English they know!  


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Update: 09-16-19

Yesterday was a very fun day for Walengamina, Rafael, Feza, Bahati, and Antony.  They were picked up and driven to Hope to worship with us at 11:00am (thank you Janet!), stayed for HopeFest where the kids had a lot of fun on the bouncers, then were taken to the Chowanics for a short boat ride and some socializing (thanks Andrea and Stephanie!), and finally I met them back at Hope to return them to Hamtramck in a car completely filled with bodies and bags of fall and winter clothing (thanks Gloria!).  Walengamina and Bahati said repeatedly on the way home, “Today was a very fun day” and Feza was asleep before we got on the highway so that tells you something, too. 


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update: 09-05-19

This has been a time of true transition for our New American friends as the older children have started school.  Rafael is a freshman at Hamtramck High School, Antony is a fifth grader at Davidson K-8 in Detroit, and Feza will start preschool at Hamtramck Headstart next week.  Reportedly the first week has gone well for both boys.


The medical and transportation teams have been hard at work making sure that all vaccinations and medical appointments are up-to-date for all five of the family members.  Thank you to Sherri Gelman and Janet Hash and their teams for making sure that the many, many appointments have been scheduled, paperwork translated in advance, and transportation arranged.  This is a HUGE job.


Both Walengamina and Bahati continue English classes and use of their local libraries.  They are thrilled to finally have State of Michigan ID cards, which are hard for refugees to obtain and open doors to services reserved for residents.  


Bahati, Antony, Walengamina, Rafael, and Feza will be joining us for worship and HopeFest on September 15th followed by a boat ride provided by the Chowanic family  (a boat ride has been Rafael’s greatest desire).  Look for our new friends at Hope’s Trunk or Treat on October 30th too. 


Currently our greatest needs are fall and winter clothing, an electric clothes dryer that takes a regular appliance plug, a tv, and two dvd players.  Please refer to the following link to see the specific needs and sizes. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c45aaac2ca75-newamerican.  Signup genius is constantly being updated to reflect current needs so please get into the habit of checking it often.


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Update: 08-15-19

Bahati and Antony are settled into their first-floor apartment. Antony rides his bike in the neighborhood and plays in the park across the street. He is registered to attend Davison Elementary School which is a Detroit school located in Hamtramck. Bahati has begun her early job readiness orientation and looks forward to internet service starting on the 19th so that she can continue her online English classes.


Walengamina is attending English classes through Samaritas and iAmerica. She enjoys having another Congolese family living across the street. Raphael starts 9th grade at Hamtramck High School and Feza will start Headstart preschool after Labor Day.  


Both families have working bikes, helmets, and locks and have been using them to get around Hamtramck. They have a very nice market that they can walk to and are grateful for their market carts to haul groceries home.


Antony and Feza attended Hope’s Vacation Bible School and Raphael came too as a helper. They loved the songs, games, and crafts. All five New American friends came to the Sunday worship service and ice cream social as well.


A handful of Hope members took both families for a zoo outing to celebrate Feza’s 4th birthday followed by a trip to an African restaurant in Detroit.


The Refugee and Immigration Committee has been especially busy trying to schedule and transport to innumerable doctor appointments, many before school starts for the children. Beginning this week, we will start collecting fall and winter clothing for all five new American family members.  Keep your eye on the signup genius to know how you can help:   


https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c45aaac2ca75-newamerican


Signup genius is constantly being updated to reflect current needs so get into the habit of checking it often.


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Update: July 29, 2019

Bahati and Antony have moved into her new home in Hamtramck with the muscle of 15 Hope members and the generous donations of countless others.  The home is across the street from her very involved and kind landlord and in a friendly, safe neighborhood.


We have been busy getting Feza ready for Headstart (endless screenings and appointments) and outfitting Walengamina’s family with bicycles.


Now that electricity has been improved in Walengamina’s apartment, we were able to install a window air conditioner unit, which has significantly improved the living conditions in the apartment.  In addition, Walengamina now has a functioning computer and wifi.


Another very friendly Congolese family has moved in directly across the street from Walengamina and is being assisted by Jean and Kurt Struckmeyer and Ed and Marilyn Battiste so a little Congolese community in Hamtramck is emerging.

There are some items still needed at this time: a working lawnmower, bikes and helmets for 9-year old Antony and 14-year old Raphael, and front porch furniture of any kind.  Beginning in mid-August we will begin collecting fall and winter clothing for all five new American family members.


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update: July 10, 2019

Walengamina is taking English classes 3 days a week and training to start an entry job in a laundromat while continuing to learn English.  Her children, Raphael and Feza, are registered for school in Hamtramck, Raphael in high school and Feza in Headstart.

 

Bahati has excelled in her English language-learning skills and has passed from beginner level to level 2 in her English classes.  Antony is learning his English from watching cartoons and looks forward to school (and recess soccer games).  

 

Both families have benefitted greatly from the many outings that Hope members have shared with them: World Refugee Day Celebration in Dearborn (Jessica Beamer), a Welcome BBQ at Hope (Stephanie Herrle and many others), a semi-professional soccer game in Clawson (Bewicks) , Picnic on Belle Isle (Weavers), Livonia Spree fireworks (Hashes), a bus trip to Meijer to start learning public transportation (Janet Hash) and are looking forward to upcoming trips to the Zoo and the Detroit Waterfront and the local pool. 


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update: june 20, 2019

World Refugee Day Celebration

Dearborn, MI


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update: June 6, 2019

On Sunday, the Refugee and Immigration Committee unanimously voted to officially co-sponsor Bahati and her son Antony (the second family), which will expand our co-sponsorship commitment to two moms and their children, all originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo via many years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. We are currently three weeks into a 6-month commitment and life-changing relationships. Here are some ways you can be involved: 

  • Keep following the sign-up genius, which is updated multiple times a week, to see what is still needed for our families as we prepare to set up the second apartment for Bahati and Antony
  • Come to the Hope Welcome Party for Walengamina, Raphael, Feza, Bahati, and Antony on June 23rd at noon. There will be lunch, games and activities, and a chance to extend a warm welcome to new friends.  All Hope members and friends are invited.
  • If you desire more direct involvement with our co-sponsorship role, please join the refugee and immigration committee.  We have sub-committees working on gathering clothing, furniture, and household items, stocking the pantry, transportation, community guides, health advocates, job development, and learning English/conversation.  
  • The next Refugee and Immigration Committee Meeting is Wednesday, June 19th at 7:00pm at Hope.

Please contact Jessica Beamer to get involved!


Note:  The photos above are from the past two week’s activities as we took our new friends on shopping trips to Meijer, the post office, CVS drugstore, a doctor appointment, and to the park for an afternoon of fun.


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update: May 17, 2019

The Refugee and Immigration Committee is very pleased to share that immediately after our two weeks of orientation with Samaritas, we have been matched with a family newly arrived in the U.S. as legal refugees. The family of three is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but has spent the last two decades in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Samaritas has moved them from a motel into a minimally ready apartment in Hamtramck. We look forward to everyone at Hope having the chance to meet Wilengamina (age 29) and her two children, Raphael (14) and Feza (3). In addition, Wilengamina and her family will soon be joined by newly arrived family members and another newly arrived family, all from the Congo via Tanzania.  While Hope will be officially co-sponsoring 5 individuals, we are committed to setting up apartments for and extending hospitality to all 10 of these individuals who will soon be located in Hamtramck. This will be an ongoing and fluid process so please watch Hope’s eNews and in-service announcements for what help is needed and when. The current needs are available at this sign-up genius link that will be updated regularly. Donated items should be brought to Classroom 5 at Hope.  Thank you, Hope members and friends, for walking alongside these families as they courageously begin anew.  Jessica Beamer djbeamer@sbcglobal.net


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