When Ali Majmaie flipped through the pages of a book, instead of well-crafted stories or informative text, he saw only mysterious shapes he couldn’t interpret. In his home country of Iraq, Ali established a career in welding and mechanics, working with his hands to support himself, his wife, and their four children. Yet not long after Ali and his family arrived in the U.S. as refugees, Lutheran Services of Georgia discovered that Ali was unable to read or write in his native language.
Nevertheless, Ali remained confident in his ability to find a community, secure employment, and become self-sufficient in his new country. Today, Ali and his family are active members of the Islamic Center of Savannah, a community center that serves Savannah’s growing Muslim population. Together, they enthusiastically welcome incoming Burmese and Iraqi families to the neighborhood. Sahira, Ali’s wife, attends English training at Savannah Technical Campus, an important step towards her dream of becoming a teacher. She also aspires to learn American cooking styles for use in her kitchen. Ali and Sahira’s four children attend a local public school, where they have excelled in their classes.
Through one-on-one English tutoring, Ali is becoming literate for the first time! He has made great progress with both speaking and writing, and is slowly unraveling the mysteries of the written word. Thanks to his determination and newly acquired literacy skills, Ali recently accepted a full-time position with Whole Foods. His vibrant spirit and positive attitude make him a great team player. Now, he can continue to improve his English while supporting his family. Ali's long journey from Iraq has finally led him to literacy and a new life for his family.