Home for Robert & Esther

Robert and Esther are refugees from DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). They arrived in the USA in August of 2016.  Robert’s childhood memories consist of being told not to ‘cry out’ if he hurt himself while crawling through the bush to avoid detection by soldiers. Of his childhood, Robert has said, “Every refugee is covered in scars and each scar tells a story of their struggle to stay alive in the face of incredible danger.” His family was finally forced to flee the daily violence of the DRC in 1996 when Robert was only four years old.  They were eventually admitted to the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda where he lived for the next 20 years!   While there Robert completed high school, learned English, worked as a youth leader, a care giver for the elderly, an HIV educational leader and an English instructor for adult refugees. Robert and Esther met in the refugee camp, married and had two children, Sandra and Agape. They lived in a structure with a dirt floor, grew their own food on a plot of ground four miles from their home and cooked over an open fire.  Finally, in 2014 they were given the chance to begin a two year security clearance process that would allowed them to come to the USA in August of 2016.

 (Learn more about the Kangwali refugee camp here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lofNxuOpv1M)

I first met the family during a home visit following their first thirty days in the USA.  I was immediately impressed by Robert’s positive outlook, contagious smile and excellent English skills.   On that first visit Robert told me what he felt he needed to be successful in his new journey; ‘I need someone to mentor me in the ways of America.”  I found that I could not say no to this request.

My involvement with this family has steadily increased since that initial visit and I could share many stories of exciting first time experiences but these high points are overshadowed by their daily financial struggles.  At the root of these struggles is the high cost of housing. Statistics tell us that it is next to impossible to survive in Phoenix if you make less than $15-$16 per hour. Unfortunately the jobs that are initially available to refugees only pay $10-$11 per hour. With the cost of renting apartments at $850-$950 per month the struggle to make ends meet is never ending, the chance of getting ahead almost nonexistent.  On some months Robert is forced to suspend cell phone service for Esther, leaving her home alone with three children and no phone, car repairs on their donated used car are a burden that can almost wipe out an entire paycheck and saving for school to help Robert get a better job seems an impossible dream.     

 My goal is to find 220 people who would donate $100 each ($22,000) to help Robert & Esther get into a townhome of their own with a total payment of $500 per month, including taxes, insurance and HOA fees. This dramatic drop in housing costs would provide Robert with financial releif that would allow him to pursue his simple dreams of life in America. This relief would allow Esther to stay at home with the three children and allow Robert to work only one job while going to school part time for an eventual career in Nursing or Elder Care.

 Please donate whatever you can to help this fine young man climb out of the pit of low income factory work and onto the path towards a career that can really sustain his family.

Dave & Julie
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 45 mos
  • Guy Weintraub 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • True North Church 
    • $2,100 
    • 45 mos
  • Kim Farmer 
    • $300 
    • 45 mos
  • Scott Farmer 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Julie Kurz 
Organizer
Sun City, AZ
Robert Sebatware 
Beneficiary
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