When Kamal and Amal arrived here from Jordan in September with their six children, they had no idea how they would be received. After tremendous conflict and displacement in Syria, they fled with the hope of safety and a better life for their children – like most refugees arriving in the United States from anywhere in the world.
Kamal and his family are six of 10,000 Syrian refugees expected to resettle in the United States in the coming year. The U.S. has resettled fewer than 2,000 Syrian refugees since the conflict began; around 60 have been resettled in Georgia.
What challenges have their family faced since arriving in Georgia? Amal says that nothing here feels like a challenge – she is so happy to be here with her immediate family safe, but they fear for other family members back in Syria. Her biggest long-term goal is to be here for her children, watching them grow up and enjoy a good life here in Georgia. She and her husband feel welcomed by their community and are grateful for all the kindness and help that they have received: “We have lots of Georgian friends now!”
Kamal is working hard to get his first job – that’s his challenge. He worked in the construction business in Syria. He arrived speaking only Arabic and with limited formal education. He will accept any job offered that will earn enough money to take care of his family.
Kamal and Amal’s three school-age children started elementary school in Clarkston two weeks ago and LOVE it. Amal says that they want to be there all the time – they are making friends and learning English, and coming home to teach their parents what they have learned. “Can we stay at school all the time?” they ask.
We asked Kamal what his children want to be when they grow up. “They must all be doctors!” he smiled. The children say, “We want be doctors, so that we will help people who cannot pay – for free.”