ABO NOKTAH FAMILY – SPRING 2018
Striving for Self-Sufficiency
(From the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford/Fish Church Newsletter)
During the first half of 2018 the Abo Noktah family has taken strides forward to self-sufficiency in America, including obtaining Green Cards, new employment and a car.
Green Cards: Recently, Khaldoun received word from the government that the family’s Green Cards will arrive by the end of May. The application is a time consuming, expensive process. Fortunately, Lina Abdo, who has befriended the family, had contacts with a lawyer and physician who did all the work “pro bono.” The green card authorizes them to live and work in the USA permanently. It brings them one step closer to citizenship.
Employment: Khaldoun now has two jobs: cashier at the Mobil Station in Cos Cob and maintenance at the Sheraton in Stamford. Both are evening and/or night hours. John Lanaway of New Canaan FPC and Kay Pfaff are still trying to find him better paying full time work, possibly in construction. Any networking contacts you may have would be greatly appreciated.
Khawla has interviewed for a job with David’s Catering to work in the kitchen preparing foods or as a cashier at one of the company’s cafeteria’s. The employer said of Khawla at the interview, “Your English is better than some people who have worked for me for 6 years.” This made her very happy, since she has been attending morning classes at the local elementary school and working diligently with her tutor to improve her English. For the family to be financially independent it will be necessary for Khawla to have a job.
Khaldoun recently passed his driver’s test and received his license. This was made possible by dedicated volunteers who gave him driving lessons, donated funds to pay DMV fees, and even loaned him a car for his test. He bought a used Mazda CX-9 that will fit the entire family. The funds for the car and first year of insurance were donated by several individuals. Karl Chevrolet of New Canaan was instrumental in making this happen. Not only will this give Khaldoun an important sense of independence, it may also open up other job opportunities now that he won’t be dependent on mass transit or the kindness of friends. Khawla is studying to take the written test at the DMV to obtain her Learner’s Permit. She is excited to learn how to drive, which she did not do in Syria.
Children: The children are happy at their schools and doing very well. Hanin’s goal was to move from honors to high honors, which she did with her most recent report card. Congratulations to her! Next year she will be going to High School. Yaman and Ahmed were enrolled in an afterschool program at Dolan for homework help and athletics. Zain loves reading aloud at school and is very proud that her class won first place during Field Day. This summer they will again take part in the HORIZONS Program hosted at New Canaan Country School that offers camp activities and academics.
Housing: An important step to self-sufficiency will be more affordable housing. The lease on their townhouse apartment in Glenbrook runs through August. For a second year part of the rent has been subsidized through the Mission Committee budget. As of September Khaldoun expects to take full responsibility for his lease. Therefore, the search is on for a 3 bedroom apartment in Stamford for $1700. We are optimistic that we will find a landlord willing to rent to the family at below market price. However, we will be looking for assistance with the move in August. Please be alert to announcements in the Sunday bulletin.
In closing, the Abo Noktahs are very grateful for the support, generosity, kindness and love shown to them by the people who actively interact with them. They are also well aware of the faith community of both our congregation and FPC New Canaan who uphold them in their prayers and support them through financial contributions. This relationship with them is a blessing to us all.