Nauru is a tiny island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia. It has been used by Australia for “offshore processing” for those who are fleeing their home countries and seeking asylum in Australia. The conditions on the island are incredibly difficult as refugees have lived in overcrowded tents, suffered from water shortages and an overall lack of resources. Communication outside of the island was restricted, and refugees would be punished for doing so if caught. After 15 years of reports of the mistreatment of refugees and difficult living conditions, the United States Government came to an agreement with the Australian Government to accept about 1,250 refugees. This process began in September of 2017, and Mutahir was one the refugees from Nauru that New American Pathways served.
Mutahir arrived in Nauru in 2013 when he was 23 years old, trying to escape persecution in Pakistan, his home country. He was alone––his wife and children still in Pakistan. He described the conditions as being terrible: “There was no future.” The work they were able to find on the island only paid about $2-$3 an hour, allowing for no accumulation of wealth, and they weren’t allowed to leave the island or communicate with anyone outside of the island. For six years, Mutahir was separated from his family. After being on the island for five years, he received an offer he could not refuse. In November 2016, it was announced that a deal had been made with the United States to resettle people in detention on Nauru and Manus Islands. There was very little public information available about how many of these refugees would be resettled by the United States, but Mutahir was one of those people. In 2018, he began the process that would eventually lead him to the United States a year later.
Mutahir arrived in the United States in 2019, and says that he finally has a chance to do what he wasn’t able to in Nauru––work to create a future for himself and his family. New American Pathways has helped Mutahir achieve self-sufficiency and apply for his green card. Once he receives his green card, he wants to start the process to bring his family here and work towards having his own business. We are so proud of what Mutahir has been able to accomplish in the short time that he’s been here, and we’re happy to continue with him on this journey!
Because of other refugees like Mutahir, this year the Australian government established the funding for NRPP program, which allows us to reach out to provide supplemental services and case management to anyone resettled from Nauru or Papua New Guinea, based on their specific long-term needs and the history of this crisis. Because of this agreement, New American Pathways was one of the several resettlement organizations who received special funding to help continue resettling refugees from Nauru in Georgia. We have been inspired by the many individuals we have been able to serve and look forward to seeing how they move towards success in Georgia!