Stories of our Refugee Youth

When Abdi was 14 years old fighters invaded his home in Mogadishu, Somalia. He watched as they killed his father and raped his mother. Abdi was shot in the shoulder and pretended to be dead until the men left the home. After the incident, and fearing for his life, he left his mother, nine siblings and the only life had known to be resettled in the United States. Abdi has flourished in foster care. He now attends school for the first time in his life, plays on the school soccer team and works part time at a grocery store to send money back to his mother.

Refugee Minor

Maria’s mom died when she was three and by the age of six she was selling tortillas on the street. An orphan, when Maria turned ten, she joined a gang in an effort to feel like she has some sort of family. After being told she must “kill or be killed” she knew she needed to leave. Fearing for her life, Maria chose to come to the US undocumented and alone. After being apprehended by immigration she spent 6 months in a shelter, scared and unsure of her future. Maria was granted asylum and transferred to the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Maria hopes to learn English, get a job and be a part of a loving, supportive family.

Asylee Minor

When Bertha was 12, her aging grandmother and sole caregiver became very ill. Knowing that there was no future for Bertha in El Salvador, the grandmother used her life savings to pay a smuggler to bring Bertha to the United States. After crossing the border, the smuggler forced her to work in a brothel. Bertha was rescued during a raid and was declared a ‘Victim of Trafficking.’ She was transferred to Ascentria foster care. Bertha loves to dance and dreams of being a teacher.

Trafficking Minor

*All cases are examples of real cases but dates and names are changed to protect client confidentiality.


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