Akilimali Baheneka and his family were resettled in Georgia in 2019. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Akilimali, his wife, four children, and his sister in law and her family came together to make Georgia their new home.
Parenting in a new country is always a challenge, and adjusting to all the different United States systems was difficult at first for the family. Finding childcare was difficult, as they did not have a network of support in Georgia like they did in the Congo and childcare was very expensive for their youngest child, who at the time was still preschool age. In the Congo, Akilimali was an engineer and his wife was a nurse, but they were not able to find jobs in those fields right away, so they had to adjust to new jobs while helping their children adjust to life in Georgia as well.
Akilimali’s face lit up to describe his children’s excitement at going to school. He says that the best thing about their new life in Georgia is the opportunity for a good education for his children. He says that school is very different here and his kids were so very happy to go to school. They were so excited that they woke up early for weeks and would ask where the bus was. It made Akimali and his wife feel so happy and encouraged to see how excited their children were to go to school. It was their first goal as parents when they learned they would come to the US, so seeing their joy brought them joy as well.
New American Pathways assisted this family with resettlement and employment support, and helped register their children for school. The middle school children are in the Bright Futures Afterschool program, and Akilimali is an active parent in our Parent Liaison program. He also has been assisted with vocational counseling through our Forward program. This father of four hopes and dreams that his children can go far in their studies and finish school and college. He wants them to achieve their dreams and do great things.
When asked what else he would want to say about his time in the United States, Akilimali says: “What I can say is to say thank you for everything you have done for us over the past two years and everything you are doing for the entire family. I hope one day to come to New AP to show you how thankful I am and would like to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing and extend your love to others like you have my family.”
We are so honored to be part of this amazing family’s story and can’t wait to see what they do in the future!