Bina and her family came to St. Paul in pursuit of a safer, stable life. Despite earning a degree from her home country, she had to restart her educational pursuits upon moving to America. Through Neighborhood House, Bina was able to find help for her education while helping her daughter Dareen move forward with her own.
It was too dangerous for my family to continue working and living in Iraq. I didn’t know what life would be like overseas and I didn’t know anyone else in America.
Before we settled down in St. Paul, I had a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Iraq. However, after moving, I had to start over with my education by taking English classes and preparing for college again. I also needed to find a pre-school program for my three year-old daughter Dareen.
Neighborhood House took care of both of us. While I learned English and prepared for college, my daughter Dareen could get ready for kindergarten.
After completing my English classes, I started attending the College Readiness program here to get ready for my studies after Neighborhood House. I also received my English Essential Skills Certificate and passed the Accuplacer practice exam, so I will be ready to start college in the fall. I plan to attend a two-year college so I can pursue a career as a pharmacy technician while being able to look after my children.
Dareen has also come a long way. At first, she would cry for me whenever we went to our separate classes. Even though we were in the same building, she did not want to leave my side! Now, she is so excited to learn, see her teachers, and meet with her new friends.
No matter where you are in your life, no matter your age, you always have an opportunity to keep learning and studying at Neighborhood House.
This place has been like a big, warm house. I’ve made many new friends from around the world such as South Korea and Mexico, and we connect through stories about how we arrived here and what Neighborhood House has meant to us. I’m so thankful for all of the help that my daughter and I have received as we prepare for the future.