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 89 of 99

Charlotte Agency Resettles Refugees Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency (CRRA) is the Charlotte affiliate of HIAS, one of nine national organizations that legally resettles refugees. CRRA is funded by both the U.S. Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency plays a critical role in helping refugees establish new lives. CRRA follows specific resettlement requirements that include connecting families to the health department, Social Security office, English-as-a-second-language classes, schools and jobs. After 90 days, refugees are expected to be financially self- sufficient. To learn more about the organization, go to would close their case with the U.N. Much to their surprise, Nihal's sister and sponsor received a call from the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency, letting her know that the family's refugee status had been accepted and the family would be moving to Char- lotte in one month. Since Nihal's sister lived in Ballantyne, it was the natural choice for the family's destination. Since their arrival in 2014, the family has found a local support sys- tem. "Life here is so nice," says Ni- hal, 46. "Everything is available. The weather, the clean roads, the system, the school(s) and many of the people who say to you that, 'We love you, we like you, we want you to be here.'" But moving to the U.S. has not been without its struggles. In Iraq, Nihal was a general practitioner, later specializing as an anesthesiologist, and her husband, a computer engineer. It has been difficult to find jobs in their fields. Nihal would need seven more years of education to qualify for a comparable medical position in the U.S. For now, she works from home as an online medical interpreter. Duraid, 55, continues to seek suitable employment. Educating Others For Mariam, she has taken an active role in educating the community about her cul- ture and religion. She gave two PowerPoint presentations to more than 50 students and teachers at Ardrey Kell. Mariam shared the similarities between Judaism, Christian- ity and Islam. Using statistics, personal experience and quotes from the Quran, she dispelled stereotypes and misinformation about Islam and the refugee experience. "Sometimes they (teenagers) would look at me when I would tell them my story; they would be like, 'No way that happened to you,'" Mariam says. She sees herself as a good Muslim individual, one who can teach others. "They only listen to the news, and news does not tell everything," she says. Building Blocks "I liked that our team kept creating new designs and persevering when it did fall down." – Prableen, Class of '25 1st & 4th grade collaborative Tower Project my moment inspiring BALLANTYNE FALL 2017 88 Who Knew?

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