Kanyere and her mother, Frediana, fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 and lived in the Kyaka II refugee camp in western Uganda for 14 years.

“There were people killed before our eyes,” Frediana said when she recalled the conditions that forced her family to leave their home.

family in NashuaIn 2018, Kanyere, Frediana, and their seven children and grandchildren left the Kyaka II refugee camp and boarded a flight to New Hampshire in search of a safer and brighter future.

Their IINE caseworker was the first person they met in the United States. After welcoming the family at the Manchester airport and bringing them to their new home in Nashua for a warm meal, she worked quickly to connect each family member to pediatric and primary care, enroll the children in school, and help Frediana and Kanyere find a local grocery store.

Because of their own determination and the support services of IINE, the two women celebrated personal milestones in 2019: Frediana secured legal guardianship for her grandchildren, who lost their parents during the civil war; Kanyere saw her children safely attend school; and both women began learning English.

Recently, Kanyere and Frediana joined IINE’s new leadership group for refugee women. During weekly meetings with other Congolese women in the community, Frediana and Kanyere learned how to advocate for the children in the local school district, navigate the American healthcare system, and find work.

This circle of women facing similar challenges provides support to Kanyere whose primary goal is to see her family succeed in a new country. “I know where to get help,” she says. At the same time, our women’s group has allowed IINE to gain a deeper understanding of Congolese refugees as well as new insights about how best to assist all newcomers.

Kanyere and Frediana are giving it their all, and continue to be inspired by the idea that, in the not too distant future, their lively children and grandchildren will go to college, pursue careers, and have the opportunity to become leaders and innovators.