Yesterday, we met Girls for Africa and the amazing women – Elizabeth, Tabitha, and Nyamat – who founded the group. They’re always looking for opportunities to give back to the refugee community in Omaha. And When they heard that a South Sudanese family of nine was being resettled in Omaha from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, they decided to do something to help welcome and support them.
Kakuma is where many South Sudanese girls in Girls for Africa were born. And they know firsthand how tough the transition to the U.S. can be. So the leaders of the group went to the airport to greet the family and provide a warm first welcome to their new home. As soon as they exchanged hugs and smiles, Elizabeth and Tabitha realized that they had known the family from their own days in Kakuma!
Martha, the mom of the family, also remembered and Elizabeth and her family leaving for the U.S. 20 years ago.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Elizabeth. “They are such a beautiful family. It’s crazy that my family and their were in a refugee camp together almost 20 years ago. Martha remembers the day we left for America!”
Imagine moving into a new home with pretty much only the clothes on your back – we saw an opportunity to help Girls for Africa bring them some unexpected joy, and some practical support, too.
Once the family was home, we surprised them with $500 worth of items that they really needed – and which showed just how much good $500 can do! We purchased two lamps, an area rug, a DVD player, a cable antenna, a microwave, a dish rack dryer, cleaning supplies, a toothbrush holder, waste bin, shower curtain, socks, hats and gloves, clothes, and pampering kits for the mom and daughters.
Nyangath, who is 12 years old, wanted to spend every waking moment with the leaders of Girls for Africa – she was so excited. She wanted nothing more than to go to school. She didn’t want toys or clothes – just a backpack. She’s can’t wait to start school this semester.
The kids jumped up and down as they saw the different items pour in. And Martha was overwhelmed with gratitude, saying, “Before today you didn’t know me or my family. But you did something remarkable that few people do, you wanted to help. Even though I can’t do anything for you. You are true people of service.”
And, she continued, “I don’t care what color your skin is, where you’re from, what tribe you’re in…we all have blood running through us, and that’s what connects us.”