By Susy Tejeda, New Jersey
In the face of fear for his pregnant wife’s safety and the well-being of his young daughter, Tony embarked on a journey of uncertainty, armed only with his meager savings and the hope for a better life. Uncertain of his destination and without a fixed return date, his path led him to the United States, mirroring the experiences of countless refugees who flee their homelands each day to protect their lives.
In this instance, Tony shares his story, shedding light on his experiences in a land that opened its doors to a fresh start. Seeking assistance and support, he found his way to the Church World Service (CWS) Jersey City office. His sense of relief was profound, as he and his family felt welcomed, accompanied, and filled with the anticipation that the future held promise.
Assigned a case manager who spoke his native Creole, Tony and his family received guidance to identify their needs and access the assistance that the organization could provide. One of Tony’s initial concerns was the need for a safe place to sleep. With no savings or concrete plans, their lives were at risk of becoming homeless.
The CWS Housing team promptly responded, preparing a room for them and guiding them to a shelter—a transitional home for three months, complete with electricity, nourishment, laundry facilities, and, most importantly, safety.
Tony reflects with great emotion, “The shelter was a good place for my family. We had electricity, which made us happy. We could also eat well, do our laundry, and stay safe.
During this time, the Housing team worked closely with Tony and his family, offering opportunities that matched their unique circumstances. They provided guidance on life in their new community, the importance of savings, and the formulation of future plans. The family’s determination to prosper was unmistakable.
With the support of a generous donor and negotiations with a landlord, the Housing team secured a new apartment for Tony and his family in Newark, complete with a security deposit and five months’ rent covered.
Today, Tony is more than happy. With CWS’s help and the generous support of the donor, his life has begun to change. He expresses profound gratitude, saying, “I thank that donor, and I thank everyone at CWS, because thanks to them, I am safe with my family.” Tony is currently studying English, has access to healthcare, and enjoys a sense of security and tranquility. His wife has recently given birth, and they now live together as a family of four, safe and happy.
Tony dreams of a better future for his children, hoping they will go to school and become integrated into society. He concludes the conversation with a heartfelt wish: “I hope CWS continues to undertake many projects and helps many more people like my family and me.”
Tony’s story is a testament to the transformative power of hope, support, and the unwavering commitment of organizations like CWS in creating better lives for refugees and their families, like CWS in creating better lives for refugees and their families.