Widad, with parents Benameur and Fatma
My story: “My parents came here three years ago from Algeria, and I came a year later. We came through the lottery. Many immigrant people come here from all over the world through the lottery. It’s like a game; they put it on the internet, people put their names in, and they pick out a few thousand every year. Some counties, like Pakistan and Iraq, don’t have it, but Algeria does. They drew my mother’s name, and she was allowed to come with my father and her kids under 21.
I was 20 at the time, so my older brother and sister stayed there. We are waiting for them. They applied for visas twice and did not get them. Coming to the United States is not easy…it’s very hard. Their parents are here and so they’re trying all the processes they can, and we are waiting and hoping.
America is the dream of everyone around the world. Everyone dreams about United States because it offers more than our country, and more developed technologically, and life is much easier than in our country.”
Why Dayton? “With the lottery, you have to know someone who lives in America, and I have a cousin here in Dayton who brought us.
We lived in Kettering before, and now we live downtown, and we all attend Sinclair Community College. In Algeria, if we go to college or university, they pick your major. You cannot pick whatever you want. Here, I am a computer science major and my parents have the opportunity to take classes and learn English. We speak French and Arabic, so coming here with no English at first except things like ‘Hi, how are you?,’ it was hard because we did not know people in Dayton besides my cousin. But Sinclair helped me a lot. I made a lot of friends, and have learned English and many skills, and it’s helped me in my daily life.”