Samson: Family Man and CDL Certified

Samson: Family Man and CDL Certified

Samson is a refugee from Eritrea who arrived in the U.S. in July of 2014. He came with his wife and two children to pursue a life where he and his family can be safe from persecution. When he moved to Seattle a year and a half ago he supported his family through delivery driving with Amazon. He came to the Refugee Resettlement Office looking for financial assistance to help jump start his own career in America. One of the programs that RRO offers to their clients is Individual Development Account (IDA), which is a match saving program that can be used for education, purchasing a car or to start saving for a down payment on a home.

Samson was interested in getting his CDL training. Through the help of RRO’s IDA match saving program, we were able to contribute $2,000 and with his own savings, Samson was able to complete his CDL training at Pacific Trucking School in Rainier Valley. Since February, Samson has been driving his truck with Savannah Trucking Service. He expects to make three times the amount of salary that he previously made from Amazon. Congratulations Samson!

Farhan: Patience and Dedication Lands the Job

Farhan: Patience and Dedication Lands the Job

Refugees in the Seattle area seeking work to attain self-sufficiency face numerous barriers. The logistical considerations of finding childcare during working hours and the difficulty of securing reliable transportation complicates their job search.

Refugees with a high level of English will encounter disconnects between American professional norms and those to which they are accustomed, but they are still motivated to obtain a good job. At the RRO, many members of this enthusiastic group bring their persistence and wealth of experiences to their hunt for employment with great success.

Farhan was briefly resettled in central Washington before relocating to Seattle. He worked with the RRO staff to compile his resume and apply for jobs. The diverse array of jobs and domains in which he had worked since leaving his home country of Somalia was astonishing. Farhan’s wide-ranging experience before reaching the US made him a desirable candidate.

However, the experience of applying for jobs in the US and going through the lengthy interview process without landing a job was trying. An in-depth American interview process for manual labor positions, which in his previous experience required only a few cursory practical questions prior to hire, was frustrating and confusing at first. Farhan’s persistence paid off, and for the past several months he has been employed full-time in residential property maintenance, receiving pay above Seattle’s already higher than average minimum wage.

Bashir: Husband, Father and Employed

Bashir: Husband, Father and Employed

Bashir arrived from Afghanistan in November 2016, after working with USAID for 9 years as a procurement specialist. While working with USAID, he assisted with purchasing items for building projects throughout the region. Since Bashir worked for a US organization in Afghanistan, he felt threatened by the Taliban. Now, he is very happy to live in the US and feels safe. Bashir declares, “I love it!”

He feels very fortunate to be living in the US especially since it means his five year old daughter, who is disabled, can get the treatment she needs. While they were living in Afghanistan, she didn’t have access to resources and therapies that can help her become more independent and mobile. In addition to accessing treatments, a nurse can watch her during the day, allowing Bashir to work full time and his wife to attend ESL classes. His wife tested into the 3rd level of English and enjoys learning English.

Both Bashir and his wife graduated from Kabul University and hope to continue their education in the US so they can get jobs relevant to their specialties and give back to their community. They have high hopes for their children as well. Bashir explains his oldest daughter, “can already speak English better than me,” and loves practicing English every chance she gets.

Kerya – Childcare Entrepreneur

Kerya – Childcare Entrepreneur

Kerya is a single mom, who came to Washington as a refugee from Eritrea in December 2012 with her three sons. When Kerya and her family first arrived, it was difficult while they were relying on TANF assistance. Eventually, she worked for several different companies that kept her family afloat. Kerya has experience raising and caring for children, so she actively started working to open her own business.  A friend told Kerya about the Refugee Resettlement Office (RRO) and their assistance programs for refugees wanting to open a childcare business.

Kerya visited the RRO in May, wanting to learn more about starting her own childcare business. She started her STAR training and orientation classes to get her childcare license. After eight months of hard work, she finally was able to get a Washington State Family Based Childcare Business License in November.

 During the entire process, the RRO provided her with technical and financial assistance to start her business. “Though starting a new childcare business in Washington State is a very lengthy and complicated process, it went very well with me because of the technical and financial support of RRO. Now I’m able to do business in my own house and I can take care of my children as well,” said Kerya.

Injera Week at RRO!

October, 2017
Marianna Clair


Traditional Ethiopian Flatbread


During injera week at the Refugee Resettlement office, our staff and ESL students learned how to make and prepared injera from scratch.  Injera is a staple flatbread that originates in Ethiopia and is served with every meal. It is a fermented spongy flatbread made from the grain teff that is packed full of iron and is gluten free. In Ethiopian food culture, injera is used as a eating utensil and as an ‘edible plate’ for meat and vegetarian stews and it is considered good manners to only eat injera with the right hand.

What you will need:

Teff Flour    5 pound bag

Self-Rise Flour    1.5 cups


Lukewarm Water    Up to 4 cups

Mixing Bowl/Container

Hot Plate

**Please note that this recipe will yield a LARGE quantity of injera, if you want a smaller amount decrease your ingredient amounts. Injera will begin to taste stale after six or seven days**

1. Place your teff and self-rise flour in the mixing bowl or container that you are using. *If you are using a clean or new container you may need to add yeast into your mixture to active the fermentation process*

2. Next you will need to slowly add water to your teff and self-rise flour mixture. You will want to combine all ingredients thoroughly for at least two minutes with either your hands or a wooden mixing spoon – the batter will begin to resemble the consistency of concrete mix. Continue to add water to keep the batter wet, and once all ingredients are mixed together you can add enough water to submerge the batter in the container.

3. Put the batter aside for up to three days at room temperature to allow it to ferment. Your injera will start to bubble and begin to develop a sour smell and flavor that it is known for. A film of mold will begin to develop on top of the water as it ferments THIS IS NORMAL! We recommend changing the water at least once during the time you set out your injera. Note: If your injera does not start to ferment you may need to add more active yeast.

4. Heat a large circular hot plate to 450 degrees. The batter should be a thin liquid at this point that you can easily pour. Once the hot plate is fully heated, begin to pour a thin layer of the batter mixture onto the surface and cook for a few minutes. Injera should be thicker than a crêpe, but not as thick as a traditional pancake. It should rise slightly when cooking.

5. Cook the batter until holes start to form on the surface of the bread. Once the injera is dry and fully cooked remove it from the hot plate. Once it has cooled you will have freshly made injera, enjoy!

Local Success Story: From Persecution to Amazon HR

Local Success Story: From Persecution to Amazon HR

Noorullah worked as a Senior Human Resources Officer for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Afghanistan for seven years. He was responsible for the day to day operations, working with current and future employees to assist with recruitment, training and development in the human resource department. Noorullah, his wife and one year old son registered for Refugee and Special Immigrant status in 2014. They fled Afghanistan earlier this year and were granted Special Immigrant status to come to the United States, for all of the hard work and dedication that Noorullah has put into USAID. Under the current travel ban, only 50,000 refugees are to be admitted in the U.S. this year, a decision made by the new president. Of these arrivals, Special Immigrants make up 35% of all refugees in King County.

Noorullah and his family arrived in the U.S. in July 2017 and were welcomed with open arms at the airport by friends and family eager to help the new arrivals in any way possible. Through the hard work of the Refugee Resettlement Office and his case manager, Noorullah and his family were placed in an apartment in Kent where they would be close to their friends and family.  Despite the current refugee crisis in the United States, Noorullah and his family have adjusted to life in the United States with ease.  Just two months after arriving in the United States, Noorullah was thrilled to announce to his friends and family that he was offered his dream job at Amazon working full-time in the Human Resources Division.  Free from persecution in the United States, Noorullah and his family are finally able to start their new lives and support others in their community.

When Noorullah is not working, he likes to spend time with his wife and son as much as possible. He hopes that his son will have more opportunities growing up in the United States and can follow in his footsteps of being successful and a contributing member of society. At the Refugee Resettlement Office, we are so proud of Noorullah and his accomplishments that we cannot wait to see what the future holds for him and his family. Congratulations and the best of luck!