Imagine having to say goodbye to everything you have ever known and loved, including your family, friends and your country.
At this very moment, someone is wrestling with that gut-wrenching decision somewhere in the world.
It’s a choice between life and death.
When they decide to flee, the journey for some begins to Detroit, to a place appropriately called Freedom House.
“If you can imagine having to flee your country and the last touch you had was one of electrocution, one of brutality, the least I can do is greet somebody with a hug,” said Deb Drennan, the executive director at Freedom House.
Freedom House is a temporary shelter for people who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Asylum-seekers live at Freedom House free of charge and receive assistance with the legal process.
Freedom House is located in an unassuming brick building in the 2600 block of W. Lafayette Boulevard in Detroit.
Dozens of people from countries all over the world live together as a family inside Freedom House.
Many of the residents have been persecuted because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, politics or sexual orientation.Their physical scars only tell half of the horror of what they have endured in their native country. I was introduced to Freedom House last November and quickly became a volunteer. It began as a three to four hour a week commitment, but over the last several months it has turned into much more than that.
I spend most of my time at Freedom House with my language partner. He’s from a French-speaking country in West Africa.I can’t reveal my language partner’s name, show you a picture of him or go into detail about his story.It’s not because he did anything wrong; it’s to protect hisfamily who could be targeted in West Africa if his location is revealed on the internet.
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Will Jones: 'Freedom House' changed my life