Success Stories

From Limited English to Limitless Possibilities


When Lemlem, a refugee from Ethiopia, arrived in the U.S. she was happy to start her new life in a free country, but did not realize how hard it could be for a newcomer with limited English. She hoped her job experience as a childcare teacher in Ethiopia would help, but learned that the position requires a STARS certificate. Lemlem joined ReWA’s Childcare Training class in the spring and quickly proved that she is a hard worker, never missing a class. She enjoyed the internship part of the class and her supervisor was very pleased with her work. Her supervisor observed, “The children and staff all love Lemlem. She came in and got straight down to business.” Even though it was not a class requirement, Lemlem volunteered eight hours every Friday on her day off. She completed 127 internship hours–the highest number in the class history.

After the class ended, Lemlem was back in our office applying for a job. Her hard work and determination has paid off, she is now working full-time at a childcare center in Seattle.

A NewJama2 Country, A New School

Jama is a fifth grader in ReWA’s Elementary School Program. When he and his family first arrived in Seattle from Somalia, he faced the challenges of learning how to navigate American cultural norms and a new school system, all while learning English. As a participant in ReWA’s after-school program, Jama has come to show exemplary dedication to his school work, a sense of initiative in tutoring and mentoring younger students, and an unmatched enthusiasm about learning in and out of the classroom. Jama will be beginning middle school in the fall, and ReWA’s Youth Program will be with him every step of the way. ReWA is so proud of all that you have accomplished, Jama!


Empowerment and Independence

Success Story 1 (Hniar)Hniar Nawn, her husband, and six children, arrived in the United States from Burma in 2010.

Like many newly arrived refugees, Hniar’s family relied on the government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for survival. However, these funds are not sufficient for a family of eight and the Hniar struggled to pay rent and purchase baby products for their youngest child.

Hniar and her family repeatedly tried to find less expensive housing, but were unsuccessful. When the family received an eviction notice, they were losing hope and knew they were running out of options. That’s when Hniar and her husband turned to ReWA.

Knowing the urgency of their situation, our ESL teachers worked intensively with Hniar and her husband to help them improve their English in a short period of time. With their eagerness and determination, we knew they would both succeed in learning English and finding employment.

Hniar’s Employment Case found a temporary position for her at Oberto Sausage. ReWA even helped her with transportation services to make sure she was able to get to work every day. Her hard work and leadership paid off; soon, she was offered a permanent job by the company!

Hniar has worked with Oberto Sausage for over eight months. She and her husband are both employed, speak English with their employers without difficulty, and have purchased their first car. Congratulations to the Nawn family for their many successes; we thank them for the privilege of being a partner in their journey!