Seeking Justice through a New Life
NSC helped me to get my first full time job here in the US and my NSC case manager has supported me throughout my asylum process.
My name is Aboubakar and I am from Central African Republic, and I came to United States in mid 2014. I escaped from Séléka rebels after I denounced the violence against civilians. As a result of my condemnation, I paid heavy price when members of my family were killed and I was imprisoned. After few months, I escaped and fled the country. I crossed the border and went to Morocco, where I lived and went to college for few years. Now I am an asylee who lives in Philadelphia and works as valet attendant.
On a typical day before the war in my country, I would go to school and hang out with my friends around the neighborhood. I had a lot of time socialize with friends and family. In US it is difficult to socialize, because I have few friends and coworkers and everyone works fulltime. I do not have a set schedule and sometimes work third shift from 11 to 7 am and other times second shift from 3pm to 11 pm. Therefore, it’s hard to socialize. I call family and friends overseas using calling cards I purchase with my wages, Some on weekends I play soccer and basketball with friends, and also run outside.
The hardest part about living here in the US is finding affordable housing, because I do not make enough from my parking job to pay both rent and my basic expenses. I work 30-35 hours a week and my base salary is very low, and the rest is tips, which all the workers share. Right now I cannot look for another job, because I i am saving monthly to apply for a lost work authorization document. This document alone costs $465 to replace. Being single with one income and supporting yourself is hard in United States, and being away from family and friends makes it even harder.
Being undocumented immigrant and not being able to find a job is hardest thing I ever faced in this country. I was very sad but never lost hope. My happiest moment was when my asylum case was approved by USCIS. I am optimistic person; I believe if you are hard-worker and put effort to things that you believe in, you will get there be successfully eventually. While I do valet parking, what many of my coworkers and customers don’t know about me is that I have computer science degree from Morocco. I can create and design a website. I also speak three languages: English, French and Sango.
I was referred to NSC in January 2015 by my asylum attorney at HIAS PA and I enrolled in Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience few weeks after I was referred. Through the PPR program, NSC has provided case management and employment services. NSC helped me to get my first full time job here in the US. My NSC case manager has supported me throughout my asylum process and also helped connect to medical care including providing financial assistance for medical care.
I want to share my story because I want people to know that injustice is happening in CAR (Central African Republic) brought by warlords, and I want to inspire others to seek justice even if it’s hard achieving it right away.