New beginnings for a family at La Alianza Hispana
Fabiola, a young single mother, arrived in the United States as a refugee from Angola. Fabiola and her children were placed in Dorchester —a foreign environment to her on many levels. She was so grateful to be away from the abusive regime in her country and looked forward to building a new life where she could raise her children free of violence, and continue her education after it had been interrupted because of the war in Angola.
“I thank God every day for my case worker at La Alianza Hispana,” declared Fabiola, “she has helped me to solve many problems and she has really supported my children.” There have been many barriers that Fabiola has overcome and because she has limited English but speaks Portuguese and Spanish, being matched with La Alianza Hispana’s case worker who speaks both languages has been helpful and effective.
Fabiola’s life has been very challenging—especially in the last six months. In the beginning of January, when La Alianza Hispana’s Counselin Center began working with her family, she faced eviction and complex housing problems. By the end of January, after an extended period of time experiencing respiratory problems (which was later diagnosed as Tuberculosis, thought to be linked to the family’s inadequate housing situation) Fabiola’s youngest child was hospitalized with whooping cough and went into a comma. “I was so scared! At the hospital, no one was explaining what was wrong with him, I felt desperate and confused about what to do,” Fabiola explained. While holding vigil at the hospital, the case worker from La Alianza Hispana helped to support the family by securing food and childcare as well as supported Fabiola with medical advocacy.
With assistance from her case worker and her connections with support groups, Fabiola has secured better housing and the family’s basic human needs are being met. “I feel safe now, my kids are healthy and it is time for me to move on and take advantage of the opportunities I didn’t have in Angola,” stated Fabiola. As of today, her oldest daughter, who wants to be a teacher when she grows up, is enjoying second grade. Her middle child is enrolled in Head Start. And Fabiola has enrolled in a literacy program beginning this spring semester.
History of Angola
Twenty-seven years of civil war (1975-2002), massive displacement, drought and famine have resulted in Angola being one of the worst places to be a woman in the world. Women’s health, security and well-being have continued to deteriorate on an incomprehensible scale, according to United Nations’, Security Council report on the United Nations mission in Angola.