Small town America joins forces to help a struggling refugee family


It’s not easy being torn from your homeland and inserted in an unfamiliar place but that’s exactly what happened to the Kaluta’s. The family of 15 was relocated from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the small town of Thomaston, Maine.

Last month, an article was published that explained the difficult transition the family was facing because of the move. Almost immediately, dozens of residents in the small town stepped up to help the refugee family adjust to their new home.

When the family arrived last Summer, only 2 of the 15 spoke any English. With a population of less than 3,000 people, there was also very little opportunity for educational help.

After learning of the family’s struggles, residents came forward to offer English lessons and to setup play dates with their own children. They have also started providing driving lessons so volunteers would no longer need to drive them around town.

A stranger outside of town even offered the family a plot of land to grow their own crops in the spring.

There has been so much outpouring of support that Laurence Coe, the person responsible for their support, has had a difficult time responding to every single email she’s received.

As far as negative comments aimed at the family? Coe says not a single negative message has been received.

19-year old Mzaliwa has received so much support that they are now corresponding with people from New York City all the way to Washington state.

One women in a nearby town even extended a dinner invitation. She once visited Cameroon and wants to return “the beautiful African hospitality.”

Mzaliwa says he is overwhelmed by the emails and unsure of how to respond. For now he spends his day learning English and working at a local nursing home.

This is how we should be treating refugees in need of our help!

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Small town America joins forces to help a struggling refugee family

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