Stories

Sudanese family buys first home

Yagoub and Tayba will soon have something they haven’t had since they fled war-torn South Sudan roughly six years ago – a house of their own. “My family will be so happy when they know that they live in their own home, and it will secure my family’s future,” Yagoub said of the four-bedroom house… Continue Reading

Congolese high schooler excels at STEM

Just a month into his freshman year at the L&N STEM Academy, student Phillip Sebu stood in the pit at the Tennessee Valley Fair’s Robo-Rodeo, tools at the ready. As a rookie member of the school’s Robotics team, the STEMpunks, Phillip cheered on the team’s robot, Rosetta, a.k.a. Rosie, as it completed a series of… Continue Reading

SUDANESE FAMILY PUTS DOWN ROOTS WITH HABITAT HOME

Yagoub and Tayba will soon have something they haven’t had since they fled war-torn South Sudan roughly six years ago – a house of their own. “My family will be so happy when they know that they live in their own home, and it will secure my family’s future,” Yagoub said of the four-bedroom house… Continue Reading

GRADUATION MARKS MILESTONE FOR BOSNIAN MOM, DAUGHTER

Like most parents of the Class of 2020, Belma Denic looked forward to attending her daughter’s upcoming high school graduation from Hardin Valley Academy—and worried that the COVID-19 outbreak might mar those plans. For Belma, a refugee from Bosnia who resettled in Knoxville when she was 18, attending the graduation holds particular significance. “It will… Continue Reading

COVID IMPACTS MOST VULNERABLE CLIENTS

With soaring unemployment rates and taxed health care systems across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone in unprecedented and unexpected ways. But the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted how much more vulnerable refugees are during a global crisis. “It’s definitely had an impact,” Bridge Program Manager Katie Weber said of the pandemic’s disruption of… Continue Reading

IN CHATTANOOGA, TORNADO COLLIDES WITH COVID CRISIS

The tornado that ripped through Chattanooga on Easter Sunday night came with no warning. “It happened at midnight,” said Marina Peshterianu, associate director of Bridge’s Chattanooga office. “The majority of people were asleep.” She and her husband rushed to a downstairs bathroom to take refuge, listening to howling winds and crashing trees outside her home…. Continue Reading

CELEBRATING OUR CHATTANOOGA PARTNERS

“Volunteers of the Year:” Vicki Suttle and Marsha Gentry! Vicki and Marsha have been Bridge volunteers since 2018, and together they lead the Hixson Presbyterian Church Community Assistance Team (CAT), which has co-sponsored FOUR refugee families from Burundi, Colombia and Sudan. They truly go above and beyond as volunteers to build trust and form close relationships with… Continue Reading

CELEBRATING OUR KNOXVILLE PARTNERS

There is not a more invested and dedicated church partner than Two Rivers Church. Their Community Assistance Team (CAT) welcomed a young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September, showing him how to cook, helping furnish his apartment, assisting him in opening a bank account, and inviting him to take part in Thanksgiving… Continue Reading

BRIDGE CONTINUES SERVICES, SPREADS HOPE DURING PANDEMIC

As the COVID-19 virus has spread globally, Bridge Refugee Services’ leaders have taken their mission to promote hope to heart in East Tennessee. “Our whole team is working collaboratively to help people cope,” said Bridge Executive Director Drocella Mugorowera. “This is a time of action, reflection, compassion, helping one another, sending messages of love and… Continue Reading

UNLIKELY CROSSING: REFUGEE AND FRIEND REUNITE IN CHATTANOOGA

When Sudanese refugee Marwah Kuku learned in 2019 she was going to be resettled in Chattanooga, she had never heard of the city. At the time, she was living in Amman, Jordan, and working for the global humanitarian organization World Relief to serve other refugees from various countries. “I did not know where this is,”… Continue Reading