Working to bring family closer

Sharifa has a new car and the license to drive it, thanks to the support of her friends and community in her new Wisconsin home. We are so glad to have her with our FSET program, supporting her on a journey that started across the world.

Early in 2022, Sharifa had just arrived from Afghanistan. A mother of seven, she could only bring one precious daughter along, and she’s worked hard to reunite with the others ever since.

World Relief, our partner in Oshkosh, introduced us to Sharifa through our Wisconsin Works (W-2) program. They were helping her start her first job here, and she needed the financial and workplace support that W-2 could provide.

As we reported last year, W-2 was integral in helping Sharifa and her daughter, Farishta, get begin their new lives in Wisconsin. Since Farishta was under 18, W-2 supplemented Sharifa’s paycheck while she started her new job. Plus, when there were communication issues at work, W-2 provided an interpreter to meet with management.

Bridging the Gap

When her little girl turned 18, however, Sharifa was not eligible for W-2 anymore – a problem they were prepared to handle. Sharifa’s case manager ensured that they were enrolled in FoodShare, which automatically made them eligible for our FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program.

FSET provides similar workplace and job-seeking support as Wisconsin Works. Since they are in the same office, it was easy for Sharifa to meet her new support team. Rachel, an FSET Case Manager, met Sharifa in October 2022 and has been on-hand ever since.

Working for Reunion

“Bringing her kids here is her main goal, and we talk about this every time we meet,” says Rachel. To help this happen, they’ve worked together to help Sharifa find a new job with higher wages, so she can afford a home big enough for everyone. Rachel also helped Sharifa enroll in our Refugee Services program, to complete applications and get additional leads.

They also worked together to ensure Sharifa has safe, reliable transportation each day. FSET funded behind-the-wheel driving lessons and even helped pay for her license. With money saved and donations from friends, Sharifa soon bought her own vehicle!

This meant that when she started her new full-time job, Sharifa could drive herself to work. Sharifa says this makes her feel more independent and optimistic about her future. She knows that if she ever finds work further away, now she can get there without an issue.

Not that she plans to leave anytime soon. Although Sharifa is still working with FSET to look for openings with higher wages, Sharifa tells us that she’d stay at her current job part-time just “because she likes the people there so much,” says Rachel.

Congratulations, Sharifa!


Do you need help getting a driver’s license? Learn how FSET can help.