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In recognition of World Refugee Day on June 20, and in honor of the thousands of refugees who now call Iowa home, AFSC Iowa’s Immigrants Voice Program (IVP) presents this four-minute video of one mother and son, reunited after 14 years of being apart.

As Hannah describes in the video, the lives of her and her son were saved by an older woman in Liberia, a stranger from a different tribe, who claimed them as her own. “This is how we got safe,” Hannah says. “I didn’t even know her name, yet I was her daughter.”

Upon his arrival at the airport in Des Moines, Hannah and Sherriff didn't even recognize each other. Thanks to photos on Facebook, Hannah's daughter helped identify Sherriff among the arriving passengers.

Currently, Sherriff is learning about computer systems administration. Hannah works in an elderly care facility and is studying nursing.

AFSC-IVP’s legal services program, directed by Jody Mashek, assists 300 refugees and immigrants each year from countries around the world, bringing families together and helping people find opportunity in their new home.

For a great source of up-to-date information about refugee resettlement, check out http://www.culturalorientation.net/learning/arrivals.

Author: 
Jon Krieg