From Baghdad to Branford: Iraqi Refugee Family Resettles in Shoreline Town

 An Iraqi family is adjusting to life on the Connecticut shoreline.

“It's gratifying that so many in the community have jumped on board," said Betsy Hyde, a member of the First Congregational Church in Branford.

Members of Hyde’s church, along with others from the First Baptist Church and St. Mary Church, joined together to give three Iraqi refugees a new life in the United States.

"The family we have is a mother in her 30s, who is the mother of set of twins, a boy and girl, and today is their fifth birthday," said Bill Hall, a member of Branford’s Refugee Welcoming Committee.

The family from Baghdad arrived Tuesday night after a 13 hour flight from Jordan.

“It is an incredibly brave thing to do,” Hall said, “we don't know her background in detail yet because part of what IRIS tells us is just recounting it can be very traumatic for the mother."

IRIS is the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, an organization in New Haven that matched the Iraqi family with the Branford Refugee Welcoming Committee.

“I wish more communities, more churches, more synagogues, more mosques would get involved with them," Hyde said.

The biggest challenges were overcoming the language barrier and finding affordable housing, Hyde and Hall said.

"We were very lucky in that a member of our congregation gave us, rented us an apartment at less than market rate," Hyde said.

The committee found a husband and wife from the First Congregational Church who speak Arabic, so they have become the family’s translators.

Both Hyde and Hall say this country should continue welcoming refugees fleeing violence and persecution.

"This is a holy week for Christianity and it's amazing how that dovetailed with the arrival of our family here in Branford," Hall said.

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