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Meet Elie, a refugee father hopeful for the future

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Elie and his family, resettled by the International Rescue Committee, stand in their living room in Salt Lake City
Elie, his wife, Delphine, and their children stand in their new living room here in Salt Lake City. Elie's family hopes for a better future in the Beehive State. Photo: Maggie McCormick/IRC

Earlier this year, Elie, his wife Delphine, and four children arrived in Salt Lake City from a refugee camp in Kenya. Elie and Delphine met in a Kenyan refugee camp after fleeing their home country, Burundi. They married in the refugee camp and started their young family. Their children, Asher, Prevoyant, Beni, and Espoir—all under the age of ten—grew up in a refugee camp, never knowing the home country their parents fled. Since resettling in the U.S., the family welcomed their newest addition—and first U.S. citizen—Abigail!

Before fleeing violence in Burundi, Elie studied English and took courses in hospitality and institutional management at university. Now in Utah, Elie is working in the warehouse of a local Walmart. He is happy to be working to support his family and continues to seek opportunities for his education and career, as well as his children’s education, and create a life of stability for his family.

“My children are at school, which is my focus as a parent, because maybe I have not reached somewhere, but for them because they are still young, [with] no war, like we experienced in Africa, and now it’s like they will get good time to focus on their studies and become better, maybe [get a better education] than me. That is my wish and my prayer.”

Elie’s main goal for his family is that they thrive in their new home, “I’d like to see my family excelling—financially, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Everything.”

Elie and his family have new hopes for their future here in Utah and work hard to achieve their goals: “When we came from Africa, we expected our lives to be better. And I think, considering what I can see from these three or four months that we have been here, I can see that there is hope. There is hope that what we were expecting will come true.”

You can help refugee families, like Elie’s, this holiday season by becoming a community sponsor during our annual holiday gift drive, Light One Candle, learning more about our volunteer opportunities at Rescue.org/VolunteerSLC, or making a monetary contribution to ensure refugee families receive the life-changing programs offered by the IRC in Salt Lake City at Rescue.org/GiveSLC

Learn more about our work by emailing us at SaltLakeCity [at] rescue.org