Reunite an Asylee With His Family
Phiona (daughter) and Nicole (wife)
Kenneth Mukonyezi is our 2017 awardee and has already been given a full scholarship from the School of International Training Graduate Program (SIT) in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. Although Kenneth feels blessed to have had this amazing opportunity, he finds it difficult to concentrate when his family is still trapped in Uganda. Refugees Welcome! is assisting Kenneth to raise the money to reunite with his wife and daughter that he hasn’t seen for over two years old.
One-way Refugees Welcome! supports refugee agencies is by helping individual families reunite with family still trapped in dangerous situations. The picture attached is of Kenneth’s wife and daughter.
Kenneth is a true message of courage and resilience. His journey reflects both endurance and hope. Enduring the darkest journeys and injustices he faced in his home country and he believes in the hope to rise and thrive again. He was born in Uganda, a country with a historic trajectory marred with tyranny and dictatorship.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building. He’s an activist for Social Justice, Equality and Human Rights. Sympathetic to a just cause while working for his country, he was linked to members opposing the Government politically and had him detained, interrogated and tortured.
He fled to the USA for his life and safety. He arrived in the USA in 2015 traumatized, stressed and hopeless. Today, like many other refugees, his asylum claim is still pending. Luckily, Refugees Welcome! was able to connect him to the School of International Training (SIT) who has offered him a two-year scholarship for his Masters in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding.
In order to ensure that Kenneth can take advantage of this amazing opportunity, Refugee Welcome! is raising money for his family to be with him in the United States while he finishes his degree. It has been nearly two years and he has not seen his daughter since she was two months old. Help reunite Kenneth with his family by donating!
Kenneth’s family was attacked in January and he is seeking an expedited asylee process. He has been in the United States for 3 years meeting with a caseworker and waiting for a final decision. We started a written program to local representatives on his behalf. The letter is below:
Name and Address
Today I write to you as a desperate plea for Asylum seeker, Kenneth Mukonyezi. Kenneth has resided in the United States since the spring of 2015. His story is not considered unique but he’s a remarkable human being. Having worked with the Ugandan government for many years, his livelihood was shattered when he was accused of assisting the opposition to the current regime. Kenneth was kidnapped and brutally tortured for several months in a safe house before his family figured out where he was and was able to help free him. Kenneth fled to Kenya before flying to America, leaving his 6-month old daughter and wife behind.
When he arrived in Boston, covered in scars and cigarette burns on his head and hands, he thought he had finally been saved. Kenneth thought America would save him, providing opportunity, a new home, and a fresh start. Tragically, that has not happened. What was once his savior, is now his new torturer. When asylum seekers arrive in the United States, they are offered a bare minimum of services. They are not offered financial assistance, the ability to go to college or purchase a new home or car. In fact, many asylum seekers must wait many months to years for a work permit as their asylum application undergoes adjudication.
For Kenneth, this led to many underpaid and dangerous jobs, homeless shelters, and sadness. After arriving, Boston Medical’s Refugee Center referred Kenneth to Refugee Welcome!, a program within the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development. RW! was able to assist Kenneth with getting a full scholarship to college and with legal fees to be reunited with his family. Kenneth attended the School for International Training Graduate Institute for his Master’s degree in conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Kenneth spoke to several events in Boston, Cambridge, Brattleboro, and New York. Kenneth now advocates for peaceful security solutions in Africa and across the world. He’s committed himself to making sure the world is a better place.
With this commitment, Kenneth has struggled to move his refugee application any further. Nearly three years later, he has seen his daughter grow from a baby into a young child through pictures. He has endured the struggle of keeping focused on his asylum case, his education and as well as raising his family in Uganda from afar. He’s only heard his wife’s voice on the phone, unable to hold her. Kenneth and his family are very brave people but recently they’ve lost hope of ever reconnecting.
Last month, four unidentified men broke into the Kenneth’s wife’s home and she was tortured. Her phones and his daughter’s identification papers were stolen in an attempt to scare Kenneth and others looking to go up against the regime. His own safety, security, and solace within the United States have been jeopardized. That’s why I am reaching out to you today. I have hope that you will push to have Kenneth’s case (USCIS# 208¬-533-242) to be finalized with the U.S.
His life should not cost him his family. Please support to ensure America stays free and open to those in need. Together, we can accomplish the American dream but first, we must ensure that families like Kenneth can focus on their careers and making their new communities better places.
Please feel free to send it to your Massachusetts State Representative’s Office:
2400 JFK Federal Building
15 New Sudbury Street
Boston, MA 02203
Charlie Baker and Karyn E. Polito
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Boston, MA 02133