« Back to All Stories

Claudia’s Story

Democratic Republic of Congo
Arrival Year
Violence and Conflict

Claudia is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She moved to Indiana in 2022 with her two adult sons to seek a better life for her family.

Claudia fled the DRC in 1996 with her two sons and lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania for 26 years before moving to Indiana in June of 2022. While living in Tanzania, Claudia found joy in caring for all the young children living in the refugee camp. Her two sons both married and started families of their own, and Claudia loved caring for her family and six grandchildren.

When she came to the United States in 2022, Claudia was resettled in Bloomington with only one of her sons and had to leave her other son and the rest of her family behind in Tanzania. Being separated from her family was extremely difficult, and she felt very lonely. She worked with Exodus to bring her other son to Indiana, and the three of them have since been reunited and live together. While Claudia is so happy to have her sons with her in Bloomington, she feels a deep sadness knowing that her daughters-in-law and her grandchildren are still living in the refugee camp. She said that while she is physically healthy, she will not be in a good place mentally until all her family has been brought to America. Exodus is working with Claudia and her sons to bring the rest of their family to Bloomington, and the Exodus team is confident they will all be reunited in the future.

The refugee camp where Claudia and her sons lived for almost three decades was a very close community. Claudia was well-known in the camp, and she felt a strong connection to everyone living there. When she came to Indiana, she was fearful she would not be able to find that same kind of close-knit community. Claudia worked with one of Exodus’ volunteer Community Support Teams, and they connected her to their church, where they have a Kenyan pastor who performs services in Swahili. At the church, Claudia has been able to connect with other Swahili speakers, and as more Congolese refugees have been resettled in Bloomington, she has become a leader and advocate for her community. Since Claudia was one of the first Congolese clients Exodus Bloomington served, she considers herself to be the “oldest daughter” of the Bloomington office and feels a responsibility to help those who have come after her. She is grateful for the connections she has been able to make since living in Indiana, and she is thankful to Exodus and her volunteers for always walking with her as she has navigated an incredibly difficult transition.

When asked if there was anything she thought Exodus supporters should know about refugees, she said, “I want people to know that there is much joy in coming to America, but there is also a deep sadness. Many of us had to leave behind the people we love in search of a better life. I am grateful to be here, but my heart is with my family still in Tanzania. I will not be whole until we are all together again.”

« Back to Stories