Didier's Story


** The client’s name has been changed, as he still faces potential harm from some in his home country. ** 

Often, the narrative about immigration carries a tone of celebration.  

You’re here! You made it!  

More often, the real narrative is one of grief and frustration. This is the case for Didier, an NSC client. An educational administrator in his home country, Didier is clear:  

“I didn’t want to come here at all. People there wanted to kill me.”

To protect his family and give his son the opportunity to attend school, he moved to Philadelphia. It has not been easy.  

In America, Didier is burdened by new challenges. “I don’t like my job here,” he says. “I am overburdened with financial stressors.” Plus, he adds, “some people here don’t trust people of color.”  

However, Didier must make this life work for him and his family, so he persists. Accessing NSC services such as case management and therapy, he has learned to cope with the new challenges confronting him in this new country. “I am grateful to have Kyra, my therapist, in my life. She offers good advice. Gwen is also kind and helpful, and my lawyer is supportive.”  

But he emphasizes a frustrating reality: “One must wait for years before getting immigration status...all one can do is wait.”

That is not to say progress isn’t being made. Kyra, his therapist, reports, “I have appreciated his candor, vulnerability, and honesty as he navigates the complex systems of the US. Out of a desire to support his children” – a new daughter was added since his arrival in America! - “and invest in their future, he continues to persist in finding opportunities for himself, both personally and professionally.”

And, more recently, there have been a couple of wins. Didier reports that his son is in first grade. He loves both his school and the teachers. Additionally, in recent weeks, Didier received a scholarship from NSC to attend a Medical Interpreter Training Program! Learning has always been core to his identity, so this opportunity was particularly meaningful as he works to gain footing and financial stability in a new place.

He knows that the path is not easy – in fact, Didier refused the stipend offered for doing this interview, asking that NSC give it to someone earlier in their journey who might need it more – but Didier is making progress. He is responding to grief and challenge with a singular focus on creating a better life for his family – even though it’s not the life he wanted.

One day, his children will realize how lucky they are.