TWIN FALLS — For the past six years, the Idaho Office for Refugees has recognized those helping refugees and refugees who are helping others.
In February, Charles Sindayiherbura and Gebregziabher “Gabe” Abrehaley from Twin Falls were presented with the Idaho Refugee Success & Integration Award.
The award is given to refugees who are advocates in their local community, have overcome significant obstacles to obtain self-sufficiency or have created jobs that benefit the economy and fellow refugees.
Sindayiherbura came to Idaho in 2008 as a Burundian refugee. He is married and has six children.
“He desired a safe environment in which to raise his children — far from the ongoing Civil War ravaging his homeland,” a statement said.
Within a year, Sindayiherbura was taking college classes and in 2015 he became the first Burundian refugee in Twin Falls to earn a college degree. He now has an associate’s in economics and a bachelor’s in law. His goal is to earn a degree in public health. Sindayiherbura has three jobs and was the first in his community to purchase a home. He anticipates the home will be paid off within two years, the award nomination letter said.
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Abrehaley had to wait eight years to come to the U.S. as a refugee from Eritrea, but came to Twin Falls in 2015.
He purchased a car and is a temporary employee of the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Program as a certified Tigrinya interpreter. He also facilitates a driver education class. He works full-time at Chobani and works as a interpreter. Abrehaley has a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
“I needed to have an interpreter in a moment’s notice,” said Yvonne Ray, CSIRP extended services case manager relates, in a nomination letter. “I called Gabe. He rode his bike in the rain two miles to the office just to interpret in order to help three participants understand life in a new country and help the staff in our office.”