By: Femi Akinsitan, Guest Blogger
Latifa arrived in the United States with her husband and two children in April this year through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program and was referred to the Lutheran Social Services of National Capital Area (LSSNCA) by a friend.
On arrival at the office, Latifa was met by the LSSNCA Matching Grant* (MG) team, who set to work by helping her and her family settle into a new home. The team facilitated multiple trainings in cultural orientation and pre-employment readiness classes. This was to acquaint the family with the social and professional cultures of the United States and for easy integration into their new home.
Before moving to the U.S., Latifa gained a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from the American University in Afghanistan. She has over ten years’ experience in accounting, working with international organizations and the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The LSSNCA MG case manager worked closely with Latifa and her husband on their resumes and helped them prepare applications for many professional-level jobs in the DMV.
Success came within the first three months of their arrival, when Latifa got an offer as a Financial Analyst with IMA World Health, an international Washington DC-based organization, working to build healthier communities for vulnerable people. According to her case manager, “understanding the new culture helped Latifa to reach out to her friends and professional networks here in DC to create a support system for herself and pass the word out that she is ready to take on any job.”
Through an efficient resettlement process, the LSSNCA MG team was able to guide Latifa to a new life of self-sufficiency – a secure job that pays for the family’s expenses. The MG team continues to work with Latifa’s husband, who is currently taking care of their two kids. The Matching Grant Job Developer (MGJD) will work with her husband to find a job, preferably in the evenings and weekends. The family has also been provided with information on the Head Start program for childcare. Since the waiting list is long, her husband is currently staying with the kids.
LSSNCA is proud of Latifa and her family and will be standing by them through the process of their full integration into their new community.
*To learn more about the Matching Grant program for eligible clients, see this information page on Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement website.