Daniel* is a 37 year old asylee from Africa who fled to the U.S. in 2007 when he was imprisoned, tortured and nearly executed after being falsely accused of having ties to rebel groups. He left behind his wife and six growing children, whose absence he has felt every day for the past six years. Last fall, Daniel’s wife and children were finally granted follow-on visas to come stay with him in the U.S., but they can't afford to buy the plane tickets. We are asking for your help to reunite them by helping us cover the cost of the plane tickets -- and just maybe build a brighter future together as a family.
We are covering as much of this as we can, but because of the short duration of the visas and the urgency of the need, we are turning to you -- HopeMobbers and supporters, to help us change 8 lives forever.
In December 2006, Daniel was abducted from his home by government soldiers and severely beaten in front of his screaming children. He was taken to a prison and falsely accused of supporting rebel groups. Previously, Daniel was a human rights activist and also worked with humanitarian organizations, which may have been a reason he was targeted.
Despite his innocence, Daniel was interrogated and brutally tortured in prison, and awaited his death as he saw his cellmates executed one by one. He endured several months of emotional, mental, and physical abuses that left permanent scars on his body (without going into details, the appalling nature of his torture was so dehumanizing that even the prosecutor assigned to challenge his case declined to have them recited in court).
Through a series of miracles, Daniel was able to escape from prison and slip across the river into a neighboring country where he was eventually able to secure a visa to escape to the U.S.
Daniel arrived in New York in 2007 penniless, alone and unable to speak English. After being bounced around homeless shelters and good Samaritans, Daniel found his way to a group of pro bono lawyers who worked to secure his asylum petition. Since then, he has learned English and works hard at two jobs, including a regular shift as a licensed yellow cab driver. Even though he has carefully saved his money and regularly sends funds to feed and clothe his family, he is unable to pay for the plane tickets and needs to conserve some savings to care for his family upon arrival.
On top of that, there is the urgency: we have a very limited time before the follow-on visas expire and risk losing the chance for his family to immigrate to the U.S. Also, his family has been forced to stay in hiding far away from home. If they are found, Daniel fears they would be in immediate physical danger based on the fact that government soldiers at home continue to harass his old friends and neighbors in search for Daniel. His children have been unable to go to school and his wife has been unable to work.
Daniel is a gentle giant with a broad grin. He is good-natured -- unfailingly polite and kind, and never ceased to amaze us with his resourcefulness in organizing his finances and personal life. Each of us that worked on his case feel blessed to have had the chance to work with him and count him as a friend for life. We've always been able to see that the absence of his family is deeply felt by him every day and every effort he makes is to improve the life he can offer his family.
He misses his wife and six children dearly. When he left, his youngest daughter was just a baby -- today she is a sturdy five year old girl who has no memory of what her father looks like. His eldest was just 10 -- today he is a young man, 16 years old. Daniel needs his family and his family needs him -- help us reunite them.
* Daniel’s real name has been omitted for safety reasons