Ballantyne Magazine

FALL 2017

Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Page 88 of 99

W H O K N E W ? Welcoming Community Iraqi Refugee Family Finds Supportive Home in Ballantyne By Vanessa Infanzon B allantyne is a diverse and vibrant community made up of individuals and families enjoying local activities, schools and shops. One such resident, Mariam, 19, graduated from Ardrey Kell High School and now at- tends Central Piedmont Community College. Like any teen, she feels the pressure from her parents to choose a major. Mariam's mom, Ni- hal, wants her to follow in her footsteps and be a doctor, but Mariam's not sure what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Mariam's struggles sound like those of any ordinary teen living in Ballantyne, but her family's road has had more twists and turns than most. The family arrived in the United States just three years ago as refugees from Iraq. They graciously agreed to be in- terviewed for this story but requested that their last name be withheld. In 2004, when Iraq was at war, Nihal and her husband, Duraid, left Iraq with their children, Mariam and Mustafa, to move to Syria to be safer. (Today Mus- tafa, 14, is a freshman at Ardrey Kell.) At Risk Again In 2009, the family applied to the United Nations (U.N.) for refugee sta- tus. When war came to Syria in 2011, their safety was at risk again. The fam- ily returned to Iraq, worried that the move Nihal (left) was once a medical doctor in Iraq. Her daughter, Mariam, is now a local college student. The family had a robust life in Iraq and still has family living there. In the third photo, the children are Mustafa and Mariam. Photos by Ray Sepesy Photos courtesy of the family BALLANTYNE FALL 2017 87 Who Knew?

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