Yosief Gebrezgabhair grew up in Eritrea before coming to the U.S.A. in September of 2010. He came alone, leaving his wife and two children in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, as he looked for opportunity in the U.S.A. Suffice to say, Yosief had a lot to take care of. Learning the language, finding work, and sponsoring one’s family is a very tall order, but it was just another day in the life of Mr. Gebrezgabhair.
After about a year, Yosief was relieved to find out that he and his family would once again be reunited. When the rest of his family came to the U.S.A., his wife, Angeset, started attending ESL classes. Their kids would often come along as well, drawing pictures quietly while their parents learned. Yosief’s brother, Efream, even came along and was a teacher’s aid for a long period of time. Efream helped pass out papers, correct homework, and tidy up the classroom, which was an immense help to the teachers.
Eventually, Yosief grew out of our ESL class and started looking for work. He took a job as a fish processor up in Alaska where he worked 12 hour days for eight months. Upon coming back, Yosief started helping out at the Refugee Resettlement Office, providing assistance to our case workers. He helped new refugees assimilate into our society by assisting them with everything from picking out furniture to teaching them to ride the bus. In a brief year and a half, Yosief went from a being new refugee himself to being a liaison to other new refugees. This incredible progression was spellbinding to witness and is inspiring to recall.