The paperwork has finally been completed to a point where CLWR is now ready to forward it on to an Immigration Processing Centre (ROCO) for review. This can take one to three months. If approved it is sent on to the Visa office located in Nairobi. CLWR has told us there are very few staff for the thousands of refugees and this part of the process can take up to two or more years. Once approved, we might only have two weeks’ notice! But your committee, with your help and the help of their cousins living here, will work hard to have everything organized for their arrival.
Just to refresh your memory, here is some information about the family.
Tiblets Gebreyesus Gebreslassie is a first cousin to Sela, the lady who first approached us about sponsoring a family. Tiblets is married and has two young daughters.
- Tiblets Gebreslassie (age 35)
- Husband is Medhane Alazar - (age 45)
- Rahel DOB (just turned 4)
- Eldana DOB (age 2, turning 3 in February)
They are all residing in Kampala, Uganda as refugees and cannot work but are receiving some financial help from a cousin in Dubai. They are Eritreans and Christian. Both children were born in Uganda.
Following a difficult childhood with the death of her father by the government, Tiblets left Eritrea without her husband with a small group of mothers and three boys in early 2013 paying a series of smugglers to get them out of the country, to Sudan and then to Kampala, Uganda where they currently live.
She indicates in her application that she is a chef by profession but in the military received some training and worked as a secretary for two years. Tiblets indicates in her application that her English language skills are very good.
Her husband Medhane made his way to Uganda in 2014 also using smugglers to escape. He began his two-year compulsory military service in 1994. However, because of civil war in the country and war with Ethiopia in 2000, these youth were compelled to stay indefinitely and he served from 1994 to 2004. He and others began to rebel at this point and were imprisoned for two years where torture and beatings were the norm. After release he was sent to another location to serve as an active soldier. He then realized there was no escaping this life and in 2014 managed to leave the country with the help of smugglers, to rejoin his wife.
Medhane reports that he was a truck driver by profession but cannot work in Kampala for several reasons. There is a shortage of job opportunities for everyone, even educated and skilled Uganadans are employed in low income jobs. They have also reported that the area is very tribal and would not give jobs to an outsider. Medhane reports that his spoken English is “moderate” but reading, writing and understanding are high.
You the members of Peace have voted to proceed with sponsoring this family. This will take some time as you know and we will provide you with updates and more information as we receive it.
As of now, all required documents have been received by CLWR and will be sent on to an Immigration Processing Centre (ROCO) to ensure the family is eligible to be sponsored as refugees. This may take from one to three months. The application is then sent on to the Visa office in Nairobi. As mentioned earlier, CLWR tells us that there are very few staff for thousands of refugees and so this process can take up to two years or more.
So, in the meantime, your committee and their family will work out a settlement plan and how we’ll prepare to welcome them here when they arrive. We will keep you posted! And as always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk, email or call me!