Introducing the Sharaf Family
May 4th, 2022
A reception is scheduled for May 22 during the Fellowship Hour to allow members and friends of RCCPC to meet the Sharaf family. Let me tell you about this delightful family and how RCCPC came to be involved with them.
The Darfur region of Western Sudan has historically been split into those who claim Black 'African' descent and primarily practice sedentary agriculture, and those who claim 'Arab' descent and are mostly semi-nomadic livestock herders. In April 2004, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing Crimes Against Humanity amounting to genocide against the Black population of Darfur. (Wikipedia)
Babiker Sharaf was 27 years old in 2004. He tells about fleeing under cloak of darkness and hiding during the day to escape the violence in his native Darfur. Afaf Mohammad grew up on a farm in Darfur and was 17 in 2004. The couple met and married in 2010 while living in the refugee camps. In 2011 they had a boy, Mutaz. In 2012, they had a girl, Mayar.
In 2014 the family was moved to Jordan in anticipation of coming to America as refugees. The US government carefully screens refugee families and had accepted the Saraf family into the program. However, the family had to wait in Jordan for seven years.
Finally in September of 2021, the Sharaf family arrived in America and were assigned to Jewish Family Services in Delaware. After living in the Hope Center for a few weeks, JFS found them an apartment near the Bear Library. Around that time John Gast gathered a few RCCPC folks together to explore participation in JFS’s Refugee program. Because she lives nearby, Kathy Koch was asked to take the Sharaf family grocery shopping. Soon that grew to involvement as School liaison and then as leader of a Circle of Care that includes Carol Mosher from Westminster Presbyterian who does financial planning with the family, and Andrea Rashbaum, of Jewish faith, who is an elementary ELL teacher. Andrea comes to the Sharaf apartment once a week with an educator friend, Lisa Preuter, to tutor the children in English. Kathy recruited Sandi Carl from her community to take over the grocery shopping. Other RCCPC members in the Circle of Care include John Gast who helps with transportation, especially to fun activities like parks and museums, Jim Caldas of RCCPC who lends his medical expertise, and the newest member of the circle, Carolyn Diehl.
The Sharaf family has made great strides in their adjustment to American life. Babiker is now working for Amazon. The children attend public school and participate in community activities. Afaf is taking English via the Adult Education program in Christina School District. She is expecting a baby in September.
The biggest current challenge that the family faces is transportation. Babiker is able to drive, but purchase of a vehicle is beyond their financial means. This leaves the Circle of Care providing rides to doctor appointments, work, and shopping. (If anyone has access to an affordable, reliable vehicle for a family of five, please contact Kathy Koch!)
The Sharafs are a delightful family and very grateful for everything that has been done to help them these past seven months. Please join us on May 22 after worship to meet them.