Justin is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but he was born and raised in a refugee camp in Rwanda, where his family lived for almost 20 years. He has 2 sisters and 4 brothers, one of whom is still in Rwanda.
Justin and his family arrived in the U.S. in Fall 2021. Life in the refugee camp had been tough, and when they came to Indiana, Justin remembers being very surprised by all of the changes in his daily life. “It was like being in elementary school and going straight to college.” While the change was very big, with support from Exodus Justin was able to adjust and is now leading a good life.
During their first 6 months in the U.S., Justin and his mom and older siblings were waiting for their Social Security cards and work authorizations to come in, all eager to start working. During those 6 months, he was able to attend English classes online through the LCORE program at Exodus. With the help of the LCORE teachers, Justin learned quickly, and gave him the chance to later continue his education.
Once he was able to start working, the employment team helped Justin get a job working at Amazon, and after 3 months he had saved up enough to buy his very first car, which meant it would be easier for him to attend college. Before coming to the US, Justin thought he would never be able to own a car in his lifetime and has since set a new goal of buying a house someday in Indiana with his family.
In 2022, Justin started school at Ivy Tech Community College and has been attending school full time while still working. Justin wants to study aviation and become a pilot so he can travel the world for his career. He has dreams of someday visiting England to see his favorite team Aston Villa play.
“Coming to the United States is an opportunity…many [refugees] come to build their lives and work hard. They are leaving very tough situations.”
Justin says since coming to Indiana, he and his family have had so many more opportunities. They want to build their lives, continue their education, and work.
“Everything is exciting. Indianapolis has a lot of opportunities; we never want to leave.”