In America, "people seem happy to see you," Idris Haroun says through a translator. The 65-year-old came to the United States as a refugee with his family in 2014. He was born in the Darfur region of Sudan and then sought refuge in Iraq before the war.

His wife, Bushra Haroun, 46, says through a translator that in America "people don't interfere in each other's business and safety."

Jacqueline Murorunkwere, 40, came to the United States in 2016 with her children after fleeing Congo in the 1990s and living in a refugee camp in Rwanda.

"I want my family to live our best life," Murorunkwere says through a translator.

Both families have sought the American dream here in Austin.

The dream has not always been easy. The families are part of the Statesman Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 featured families and helps hundreds of other families and individuals through local nonprofit agencies. The Harouns were nominated by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, and the Murorunkweres were nominated by Caritas of Austin.

One family that knows the American dream is that of Harmon Dobson. He started Whataburger in 1950 in Corpus Christi. The burger restaurant has become a Texas tradition.

One of the company's traditions is strengthening local communities, and in Austin, that means helping local schools, raising money for Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas and giving to the Season for Caring program.

This year, Whataburger kicked off Season for Caring with a $25,000 donation. Since 2011, Whataburger has given $228,000 to Season for Caring.

“Whataburger deeply appreciates what Season for Caring does for families in the Austin area," said Lynne Dobson, the daughter of Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson. "The Whataburger teams in Austin are thankful for the opportunity to give this donation."

Dobson has noted in years past how much she has been amazed by the strength of the Season for Caring families and how much they have endured. 

This year's families also have endured much. Idris Haroun's injuries experienced in Sudan and Iraq means he's not able to work anymore. Youngest daughter, Sara, 3, has autism, making it difficult for Bushra Haroun to work.

Murorunkwere had to end the cycle of abuse and move with her five children into housing for people who have experienced domestic violence.

The Harouns need help paying off their travel loans, a van big enough for the whole family, bedding, a desk, a dresser, a vacuum cleaner, and job training for Bushra.

To find out more about the Harouns or to donate an item on the wish list, contact Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, Ext. 7, interfaithtexas.org.

The Murorunkweres also need a vehicle large enough for their family, and help with kitchen essentials, a dining room table and chairs, living room furniture, tuition assistance for college for 19-year-old son Eric, and laptop computers.

To find out more about the Murorunkweres or to donate an item on the wish list, contact Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org

 


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