Answering the Call: One Family Provides Refugee Family Gift of Independence

In 2009, the Smith* Family connected to the Shafi Family while living in Istanbul.

Inspired by their perseverance, the Smith* family purchased a car for the Shafi Family, giving them the gift of independence and transportation to become self-sufficient. From left: Waqar Shafi — the first in to receive his license, Carson, and Suleman, Wagar’s brother. 

Pope Francis put out a call to #ShareJourney with our migrant and refugee neighbors. One family met that call by leaps and bounds through Catholic Charities by providing a refugee family with the gift of independence.

It all started 9 years ago while living in Istanbul, the Smith* family volunteered with an organization that provided refugees with social services such as basic needs and assistance with navigating the refugee process. The Smiths were connected with the Shafis, a family of 11 from Pakistan who migrated to Turkey. The families formed a special friendship and kept in touch throughout the years.

When the Shafi family’s turn finally came to start a new life in America, they were asked who they knew in the U.S. and named the Smiths. Catholic Charities called the Smiths to verify they knew them, and then the Shafis were on their way to Houston.

Thanks to our generous supporters like you, the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program was able to help get the Shafi family on their feet by helping them find housing and apply for assistance, providing basic needs such as food and medical care, and take them on job interviews.

But the Smith family wanted to do more. Inspired by their perseverance, they purchased a card for the Shafis. This gift to our clients will provides not only necessary transportation to and from where they need to go — especially work — but it gives them independence to build toward becoming self-sufficient.

From the Smiths: “Their path has been one of persecution, patience, and perseverance. They are resilient and positive and I have no doubt once they all get their feet on the ground, they will have a tremendous future here in the US.

Thank you for the work that you all do every day for resettled refugees and other populations. It is so important.”

Learn more about how Catholic Charities answer’s Christ’s call to welcome the stranger through our Refugee Resettlement program, and how you can help.


*Name changed to protect privacy.