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Why They are Here

ESL has provided the starting point for sharing of one’s story that goes beyond the classroom and the chalkboards. Next Monday my students who are refugees from the Middle East, are showing off their English skills by telling their stories. Today as I helped them prepare for their presentations I got to hear some of the stories and helped them illustrate their depictions of their stories.

I will share with you what I learned.

Julie: She came from Afghanistan this year. Her husband worked with U.S businessmen while they were there. The terrorist group kidnapped her 11 year old cousin, he would lose his life at their hands. Because of her husband’s work she and her family, which consists of small children under the age of 4 became the next targets. With no way to stay safe they came to America.

Marie: Her husband worked in finance with American businessmen in Afghanistan. One day her husband was attacked. But the violence did not end there. The terrorist group began to threaten that they would kidnap her babies. Their hope was to leave their home so that their babies could be safe and they could be a happy family.

As I helped to draw their depiction of a family being attacked by terrorists and a small boy being kidnapped, I held back tears. We finished up and refined their presentations and they decided that the best way to end their presentation was to say “Thank you Americans!”

Every week the women who do not have a babysitter, come with their beautiful children in tote to ESL. And although it can get rowdy, myself and the other teachers push through the crying and fits to teach the mother’s a language that their children will soon speak without flaw. Those children have been rescued from a situation because of their families bravery
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