In 2017 Rakan Alrefai, his wife Khawla, and their 4 children Badir, Laith, Haneen, and Hala arrived on American soil for their very first time. They had been waiting for 5 years in Jordan to hear where the United Nations would resettle them. Their new home would be in St Louis, MO, a city they had never heard of.
In 2011 the war broke out in Syria and when the bombs got much too close and Rakan's brother and mother were killed, he and his family fled by foot from their home and crossed the border into Jordan.
Rakan and his family remained in Jordan for 5 years. For income, Rakan drove a taxi and did construction. When standing on a second story scaffold painting, he fell to the ground. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where they did surgery on his back. From the fall, he became permanently disabled.
As they began their new lives in St Louis, in a second story apt in a country where they did not know the language and where bed bugs bit their arms and legs, they wondered why Allah brought them to America.
This is where Welcome Neighbor STL/START and family partners entered their lives and they entered ours. Jane Mohit, Becky O'Keefe, the Polsters, and Madeleine Grucza met and fell in love with the beautiful family, and our lives were changed forever.
On February 1 of 2021, they can move back to St Louis after living in Section 8 housing in Jefferson County for a year. The children need stability and better schools. Since the pandemic began, they have not been able to play outside for safety reasons and fear. A landlord of a small 3 bedroom home in a highly rated school district accepted their section 8 voucher and they will finally be able to afford a home with a gated yard for their family.
They need help with housing expenses. Rakan makes $783 a month on SSI. That comes to $9,386 a year income for a family of 6! They receive $600 a month in food stamps.
We want to raise $5,000 which we will keep in a housing account within Welcome Neighbor STL/START. All donations are tax-deductible as we are a not for profit organization.
Please help the Alrefai family move into their forever home and keep them in your hearts this holiday season. Any donation amount is appreciated! You will receive an acknowledgment for your donation. We will also send out periodic updates. Thank you so much for your consideration!
All donations will go towards January rent ($985), utility costs and housing expenses for the first year. See video below!