A Refugee Youth Remembers the Night He Fled & Now Has Dreams to Fly

Author: Dieudonne, Unaccompanied Refugee Minor

My journey began 14 years ago when I was 3 years old. I was living in DRC Congo with my grandparents. Both my parents had died.

There were always wars going on. There was always shooting. It was never safe.

One night, we were inside the house. People broke in. We had no warning. There was yelling and loud bangs.

I remember my grandfather died that night.

We all ran out of the house afraid: my brother, sister, grandmother, uncle, and me. We weren’t able to do anything else but run. I was the youngest and I was so afraid. We never could return to the house to pack up clothes or grab the things that mattered most to us. Nor were we able to return to burry my grandfather.

After we fled that night, we met with a friend of my grandma who lived near Burma. She gave us food and water for the rest of our journey. We grabbed what we could and kept going. After a few days, we found the help we needed through UNHCR. That’s when we first felt a little piece of hope and happiness.

We were in Uganda for 7 years before we received the letter that told us we were accepted into the United States. We were so happy. That is one of the best days I can remember. There was a future in sight and we were going to work very hard to make it the very best we could. We were lucky and we were going to make this opportunity mean everything.

The plane ride to America was like a dream. I was floating in the sky above the clouds. I was free. I was safe. I was going to a new home were everything would be ok. The sky gave me peace. There was no more yelling, no more shooting, and no more running.

I arrived in America in 2014 and entered the URM program at LSS. They took care of me and my brother. They gave us a home where we felt loved. They enrolled us in school so we could make our dreams come true. They helped us with clothes and healthcare.

Today, I have two additional little brothers and a mom, Allison, and a dad, Joe. I am a junior in high school. Last year, I took a geometry class and it changed everything for me. Math is now my favorite subject and I am enrolled in calculus.

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Ann Parks photography

Next year after graduation, my dream is to attend Embry Riddle in Daytona. They call it the Harvard of the Sky. My goal is to become a pilot. Ever since that first plane ride to America, I knew flying airplanes was for me. I love it up there in the sky. The sky reminds me of America where anything is possible.

In my journey, I have traveled a long way. But this is the life we always wanted to live. And without you here today, none of it would be possible. Thank you for giving me my dreams. I have everything because of you.

Open your home and heart to a refugee youth. Contact us today to learn more or join us at our next orientation.

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