OMI Network Accompanies Refugee Family ​From Quetta, Pakistan to Skokie, IL


Report by Séamus Finn, OMI

Originally Published on OMIUSA.ORG

(L to R) Saira (mother), Unss, (younger son)
Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Tim Higgins & Rumaan (older son)

My recent visit to Chicago provided an opportunity after three years of the Covid disruption, to visit with the family that we helped to settle in the US more than 8 years ago. The story and photo of their arrival and welcome is captured in an article from the Chicago Catholic. Read the article.

Their journey before arriving in Chicago began in Quetta, Pakistan and was made possible through an Oblate and Catholic network that took them for a period to St. Maggona, Sri Lanka, where they were warmly received and temporarily housed by the Oblates of the Colombo province. After applying for refugee/asylum status through the United Nations, they were accepted for resettlement by the US and landed in Chicago, IL in 2015.

(Amir, the Sharif’s husband & father)

The OMI USA JPIC office was instrumental in drawing on the network of Oblate relationships in Chicago and especially through Tim Higgins, Fr. Kevin Feeney and the students at the Shiel Catholic Center at Northwestern University in Evanston IL. The support of the Shiel community has been invaluable in helping them navigate all the hurdles and challenges that is faced by immigrants on a daily basis. With the sustained support and generosity of many, they were eventually successful in purchasing a house in Skokie, Il where they moved and have continued to live since 2018.

The boys were aged 6 and 9 when they arrived and have made great progress in school and adjusting to a very different culture and environment as they contemplate their next educational transition in the coming years. Both Saira and Amir have been working hard since they arrived and have successful built a network of relations and friendships in the local community and in the catholic communities at Shiel and other local catholic institutions where they participate actively.