Citizenship is a huge goal that many refugees have once they are resettled in the United States. During those first few weeks, it seems like a faraway dream, but it’s a dream that motivates many new Americans down their own pathway towards citizenship. Many of the refugees we serve have never had the opportunity to participate in civic life prior to their arrival in the United States. Perhaps they were born in a refugee camp or were part of a persecuted group in their home country and were denied citizenship rights. But no matter their story, passing the citizenship test and calling yourself ‘An American Citizen’ is a powerful achievement and even an emotional milestone that means more than words can express.
We were thrilled for our contractor and former client Abdirahman Salad when he passed his citizenship test and was naturalized in early September. He was resettled by RRISA in 2013 right before RRISA and RFS merged to become New American Pathways, so he has been travelling his own pathway to this moment for quite some time. Abdirahman’s path wasn’t without bumps and obstacles in the road, as he experienced some health challenges over the past few years. But despite those physical challenges, he focused on his goal of citizenship and kept moving forward.
Abdirahman explains that throughout the process, everyone he met was helpful and encouraging to him, and he was treated with much compassion and warmth, especially from the many staff at New American Pathways. hHis time at New AP first as a client and later as a contractor has been an amazing experience. He says that America is “A great nation with great people.”
Abdirahman won’t let anything stop his dreams. His next big goal is to become a business owner and he is exploring the different options he has to advance his career in that area. When asked what message he wants to share with the world, he said “What happens to you doesn’t have to stop you.”
We are so inspired by Abdirahman and can’t wait to see how his story continues to unfold.