While any other in her situation would struggle to find joy, Fanny Ndango’s smile is as beautiful and bright as the traditional African dresses she dons regularly.
Sometimes she sews them herself, one of the many talents hidden behind her humble demeanor. But more often than not, she shares, they are sent by her mother—a long voyage over the Atlantic…
The same voyage made by Fanny and her family not so long ago.
They hail from the Central African Republic, right in the heart of Africa. An infamously turbulent country, the country’s government has yet to find its political “groove” since declaring independence from France in 1960.
Fanny, her husband and seven children lived in the capital of Bangui, “the scene of intense rebel activity and destruction during… political upheaval.” Fanny was a nursing student, with a passion for politics. A proud supporter of the President François Bozizé, she served her country as a representative, and was nearly at the top of her party at the height of the regime.
But in November 2012, it all came to an abrupt and violent end. Seleka rebels overran the capital, seizing power and sending Bozizé and his party fleeing for their very lives—including Fanny.
“We got in a car and drove to Brazzaville,” she shares, “to a refugee camp.”
In spite of their terrible circumstances, they bravely looked to the future. Fanny’s husband, a computer tutor back home, took jobs to provide for the family while the couple searched out more permanent options—more specifically, applying for refugee status.
Much to their relief, they were approved and accepted for admission into the United States. And with the help of the United Nations Refugee Agency and World Relief, they settled in the quaint, but famously multi-cultural town of Clarkston, located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia.
Her husband was able to find work at the Omni, a luxury Atlanta hotel. Fanny had given up her life for what she believed in—for the future of her country—and now wondered what her own future might hold.
She learned about a local staffing company helping other refugees find jobs and decided to check it out. There, at Amplio Recruiting, they listened as she shared her experience in politics and education in nursing, among other things.
Her clear English and work ethic made her an excellent candidate for one of many job openings, and it wasn’t long before she “landed” a job at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Fanny is one of the many Amplio employees keeping the International Terminal spotless and welcoming to travelers from all over the world.
Though she never imagined having to start over in an unfamiliar country, Fanny is proud of the life they’ve built. She and her husband model this pride, and unequivocal work ethic for their seven school-age children, who they hope will go on to pursue distinguished careers in healthcare or in the judicial system one day.
As for her own dreams, Fanny’s are simple: “I want to speak very good English and write,” she continues, “and finish the nursing program.”
What will she write about?
“My story,” she says.
Fanny’s story, like other refugees, is still being written. They’ve persevered through unexpected and unimaginable circumstances and yet press on, determined to continue to rise above their circumstances. Determined to add value to their new communities by bringing their skills and work ethic to the table. Determined to find their happily ever after.
At Amplio, we’re connecting great companies to this talented and dependable Refugee Workforce. At the same time, we’re giving refugees like Fanny a “hand up” in their journey to being self-sustainable once more.