Refugee Family Update
January 6th, 2022
Red Clay continues to be a major support for the Sharaf family who arrived in the U.S. in October, after 7 years in a Jordanian refugee camp. Originally from the Darfur region of Sudan the family include: Dad - Babiker Sharaf, Mom - Afaf Mohammed, and children: Mutaz Sharaf - 10 yr old boy and Mayar Sharaf -9 yr old girl.
The family has been comfortably settled into a Bear area apartment provided through Jewish Family Services (JFS) for several months. Babiker is working full time as an apprentice painter and the children are enrolled in 3rd and 4th grade at the local elementary school. Thanks to various volunteers, many from Red Clay, they are getting around Delaware to food and clothing shops and to a recent Food Bank event. Volunteers also have taken the family to medical appointments, including vaccine updates. We are looking for low cost or pro bono dental services, since the family is on Medicaid which does not cover dental expenses. The volunteers are providing language and culture classes and financial counseling. Babiker is now preparing for driver's training and will soon take the written test moving toward a license. The family is also getting familiar with some of the local sites and parks. They particularly enjoy milkshakes.
It is a joy to work with the Sharafs and to experience their pleasant manner and excitement with their new home.
Down the road there will be other hills to climb, as they will gradually have to be responsible for more and more of their daily expenses. Recently, Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church have provided blankets and sweaters to help the family cope with the DE winter, along with instruction on how to reduce heating costs in their electrically heated apartment. (The family is responsible for these costs.)
Because they cannot yet drive and do not yet have a vehicle, transportation is a key barrier to assimilation. Therefore one particularly urgent current need is weekly help with transportation home from work for Babiker. Any insights into a reliable but low-cost vehicle would help provide a more permanent solution to this important need.
If you would like to learn more or perhaps help with some of the transportation and assimilation needs, please contact Kathy Koch or John Gast via email to the church office.
Picture below: Sudanese basket that Afaf uses for the flat bread that is a staple for them.