Zarina is happy to be an American citizen. She is Rohingya and came to the U.S.as a refugee from Myanmar/Burma. For the first time she feels the freedom of being able to say, “This is my country. I can go anywhere now.”
When Zarina came to the U.S., learning the language and becoming a citizen were very important to her. She is a busy mom of four. There just wasn’t enough time to go to school between caring for her family, managing school for her children, and working outside the home.
Working closely with leaders of the refugee community, Catholic Charities understands the challenges that Zarina and others face to find time and transportation to participate in a traditional classroom setting. In response, Catholic Charities RIS program created a volunteer tutoring program that would be flexible to meet individual needs.
When Zarina began asking family and friends where she could find help to prepare for the U.S. citizenship test, she learned of volunteer tutors who could come to her home. That is when she met Kim who was a trained volunteer tutor through Catholic Charities RIS program. They were paired in January 2020. When the pandemic made virtual meetings necessary, Zarina and Kim were able to continue their lessons through WhatsApp. Zarina says that Kim would help to “push her through” and encourage her saying, “You can do it!” Zarina reached her goal of citizenship, and says, “I am thankful to her forever.”
Learn more about our Refugee and Immigration Services.