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The American Mentors

Refugees in America give community

Through a mentorship program run by the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, a refugee family from the Democratic Republic of Congo was introduced to an American wanting to help the newcomers start over and rebuild a new life. Photos taken by Keith Lane/IRC.

  • With the help of the International Rescue Committee, Susie Lawrence (center-left) was matched with the Rananzani family as a way to help the newcomers adapt to the American culture and life.

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  • Kazingufu Rananzani, 35, fled the Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda in 2002 because of escalating violence. Kazingufu, his wife Hellen and their five children were resettled in Baltimore by the IRC in July 2016.

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  • When they first met, Susie and KG laid out the goals he hoped to accomplish in the first few months, one being to get his learner’s driving permit. They studied together and KG passed the test last December.

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  • IRC mentor volunteer Susie Lawrence reviews the Rananzani children's report cards from school with the family. "The kids are doing incredibily well; the parents are so proud!" Susie says. 

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  • Four-year-old son Calvin at his home in Baltimore. Calvin and his siblings anxiously wait for "Aunt Susie" to come visit. 

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