Iraqi Couple Becomes LSG’s First Refugee Family in Savannah

After flying from Jordan to Miami, staying over in Miami for a few hours, and then hopping on another flight from Miami to Savannah, Ghassan and Nashwan were fairly tired when they walked away from their plane in the Savannah airport. Once they caught sight of their son—whom they had not seen in several years—standing near the exit, however, they perked up. On December 13, Ghassan and Nashwan became the first two refugee clients that Lutheran Services of Georgia resettled in Savannah since the early 1980s. Originally from Iraq, Ghassan and Nashwan pursued scientific careers in Baghdad, Ghassan as an engineer and Nashwan as a physicist. Then the war began, and eventually the couple had to flee Baghdad because of the violence, finding refuge in Jordan. From there they waited to find out whether they would be able to settle permanently in another country. It eventually became possible for them to move to Savannah, where their son—who had been resettled to the United States seven years ago—owned and operated a commodities-trading business.

Now Ghassan and Nashwan will stay with their son while they look for work and a house of their own to live in. Ghassan already speaks fluent English, having learned it in school and practiced it with American clients in Iraq, and is eager to find a job. Nashwan, who does not speak English as well as her husband does, is looking forward to improving her skills in the spring when she will start taking language classes at Savannah Technical College. In the meantime, the two of them are enjoying the company of their son and the prospect of beginning anew in Savannah.