We all agree that children need safe homes, meaningful education, and healthy social outlets to thrive. Few people understand that as well as Bassam and Ersebet Atoui.
The couple and their young children fled political persecution in Lebanon in 2008. Bassam gave up his store and career as a tailor for an uncertain future in the U.S., where the family quickly ran through their savings after arriving in Boston. Bassam took a job pumping gas, with only his finely tailored pants and dress shoes to wear during the cold, winter months. Ersebet still cringes at the memory of her husband arriving home with icy cold hands and tattered trousers.
“But it was always about the future for our children,” Bassam recently remarked. The Institute helped the family with housing and employment needs as soon as they received their approved asylum status. Bassam and Ersebet took English classes so they could become self-sufficient and quickly settle into their new country. In just three short years, Bassam is now a tailor for Brooks Brothers; the children are doing well in school; and the family has relocated to a sunny West Roxbury neighborhood.
Bassam and Ersebet’s story is not unique. Nor was it easy. Every day, the International Institute helps families bridge the gap between their former lives and a new future in the United States through services like ESOL, computer literacy and job readiness classes. Most of them do it not for themselves, but for their children.
Nearly 4,000 children and their families directly benefited from the programs provided by the International Institute last year. It is our hope that you will consider a gift this summer so we may continue to fund these services. Your generosity continues to honor the sacrifices made by so many parents and allows us to continue to serve such deserving and hardworking families.