Peace Lutheran has co-sponsored two refugee families along with Lutheran Social services (LSS) of Milwaukee. Peace provided all the things needed to set up their first apartments and then provided help to navigate life in the USA.
The Vucinic family is originally from Croatia. The family of 5 came to the USA in June of 2002 and settled in Milwaukee. Dusko (Dad), Branka (Mom) and Ljuba (Grandma) had all experienced the tragedies of living through a long brutal war. They lost everything when they were forced to flee their home and travel to Serbia where they lived in a refugee camp for many years before being resettled in the USA. The girls, Bojana, who was 5 years old when they arrived and Dajana who was 2, learned English quickly as Bojana started Kindergarten and would teach Dajana what she learned.
The family has done very well. All three adults found jobs and in a few short years they were able to buy a lovely small home in Greenfield and became American citizens in 2007. Bojana graduated from high school in June of 2015 and is currently pursuing a University degree. Dajana is also doing well in school and continues to participate in Serbian dance groups.
Mohamud Haji and his wife Marian Osman came to the USA in September of 2004. They were resettled in Milwaukee with their five children, Hamarei, Mumina, Mohamed, Ali and Maslat. Hamarei was 8 years old at the time and Maslat was only 5 months old when they arrived in Milwaukee. All five children had been born in a very harsh refugee camp in Kenya where Mohamud and Marian had lived for 14 years after surviving a brutal war in Somalia that claimed the lives of many loved ones.
Since coming to the USA they have added 2 children to their family Nuriya and Murjan, and built a house through Habitat For Humanity Milwaukee. The children are all in school with the oldest, Hamarei, set to graduate high school in June of 2016. She hopes to go on to one of the Universities in Wisconsin and study to be a teacher.
Working with refugees is a very rewarding experience. You get a very personal look into another culture as you help to guide a family into their new lives in America.