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Interview for

Haresu Tekle


Interviewed By:

Amna Amin

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 59:43

Haresu Tekle speaks of her experience as a refugee both from Eritrea to Ethiopia and then resettling from Ethiopia to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she faced sexual harassment and intimidation from a member of her church. Haresu talks about the difficulties of being resettled to an unsafe environment, including her struggles with disability and government resources.

Other Interviews

Other interviews of this person can be found below:

Additional Notes

Narrator: Haresu Tekle

Date: 7/20/2019

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Content Warning: Sexual violence, physical assault

Summary: Haresu Tekle, a refugee from Eritrea, describes her experience coming to the United States and searching for a new home for her and her son

Topics: Life back home, Cultural Adjustment, Faith


Section 1: (00:00-11:35)

  • Childhood - Grew up in Eritrea; left with her son because she did not want to serve in the military and there were no economic opportunities; she relocated to an Eritrean refugee camp in Ethiopia

  • Employment/Service - Had a nice job in the Eritrean refugee camp raising awareness for immunization and disease prevention; felt good to help people and work in community

  • Immigration Process - the United States government helped resettle single people with chronic illnesses, so she had the opportunity to come to the US

Section 2: (11:38-20:21)

  • Immigration Process - US government paid for their immigration and offered her a home; moved to Salt Lake City and appreciated the simplicity of the city; received benefits which helped her adjust

  • Cultural Adjustment - attended ESL classes and really enjoyed it; was in a class with other refugees and made friends; used her benefits to get settled in Utah; her son went to school; she liked how easy it was to get around the city

  • Employment/Service - a Catholic community service provided her a home and helped her before she arrived

Section 3: (20:25 - 48:18)

  • Cultural Adjustment - struggled to get an entry level job because of her physical disability; joined a Church that was supposed to help her with economic training and the job search

  • Trauma - the Church offered free rides every Sunday, and someone’s husband became interested in her; wants to see her even though she refuses so she creates an excuse to not attend the Church; this man decides to sexually assault her and his relatives want to kill her because he's interested in her; he won't relent, so she doesn't return to the Church and decides to leave Utah

Section 4: (48:21-56:40)

  • Immigration process - decides to move to Charlotte; benefits there are not as helpful as in Utah, and she struggles to survive; thinks about returning to Salt Lake City

  • Religion - was assisted by an Islamic relief organization; reflects on an experience in Ethiopia of being helped by someone of Islamic faith; had a scary dream before coming to the US, and the man interpreted it for her; expresses her appreciation for Muslim society

Section 5: (56:43 - 59:44)

  • Religion - reflects on the shared connection between Muslims and Christians; humanity means we help one another; says kindness is what gives humans value before God

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