Syrian refugees say they're loving life in Omaha

Posted at 6:15 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 19:15:35-04

“Life in Syria before was so nice and peaceful.  But, after the war started, everything started changing,” said a Syrian refugee through a translator.

Close to five million Syrians fled their country since the beginning of the civil war in 2011.  Last year the Obama administration vowed to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. by the end of the month.  That goal was achieved earlier this week. 

Many Republications including Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts are against resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S., but have no legal power to block the borders. 

“We resettled our first Syrian family in May and in June we had two more,” said Refugee Empowerment Center Executive Director, Ann Marie Kudlacz. 

So far the Refugee Empowerment Center has helped a total of 48 Syrian refugees resettle in Omaha since May. 

“I asked them did you pack anything up, or take any photographs or anything with you and they said no,” said Kudlacz.

On Thursday, KMTV caught up with two of the Syrian refugees during their ESL class. 

“The education opportunities are so high here,” said a refugee via a translator. 

The men did not wish to be identified because they fear for the lives of their families still in Syria.  But, they say they are grateful for the opportunities they’ve been given and will take full advantage of raising their families in America. 

“I want to thank all the American people, especially all the people here in Omaha.  We are thankful for them welcoming us,” said a Syrian refugee. 

The Refugee Empowerment Center says right now they are in dire need of household items like cups, plates and cleaning supplies to accommodate these families.  They are also collecting toys for the refugee children.  Any donations can be brought to the center near 37th and Dodge.