OUR LEARNER SPOTLIGHT: Nofal Khudhur, ESL Graduate
For five years, Nofal Khudhur awaited the day that he and his family would be able to immigrate from Iraq to America. As a procurement specialist for an American company, Nofal and his family lived in constant danger due to his employment with the United States government. In 2010, he applied for an immigration program which specifically assisted at-risk employees of American companies. Finally approved in 2015, Nofal, his wife, and their two young children took a leap of faith, left everything behind, and began a new life in the city of Philadelphia.
Initially, Nofal and his wife found life in their new home to be strange and challenging. Nofal received his Job Authorization Card and began working at Cardone Industries. Unfortunately, the company relocated a year later, and Nofal was laid off.
Seeking better career opportunities, Nofal decided to study for his GED. Despite having learned English in Iraq, he couldn’t understand his classmates for the first month of classes. “Sometimes when they speak and make jokes, I couldn’t understand. My kids understand, so I asked them what it means,” he said.
After much studying, Nofal celebrated two significant accomplishments, becoming proficient in English and earning his GED. “I have goals to improve my life and improve my job. You must start to do it. Day by day you can change your life,” he said.
Nofal’s family welcomed their third child, the first to be born in America. To support his growing family, Nofal works multiple jobs while striving toward his next goal, becoming an American citizen. Both Nofal and his wife enrolled in Beyond Literacy’s citizenship classes to prepare for their test. “For us, it is our dream to be American citizens. We feel proud to be American because it is a great country. It is freedom.”
Nofal now encourages his wife to practice her English at the market and assists his children in their homework. His advice to other immigrants is to be patient, keep going, and know that there are people and organizations who can help them accomplish their goals. “In the East, there is no value for people. You are worth nothing. But when you come to the United States, you become a person. You find yourself here.”