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Refugee family to be honored for their hard work



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Less than three years ago, the Bashire family left a refugee camp in central Africa hoping for a new life in America. Now those who welcomed them are honoring them.

The Banshire family is from the tiny and very poor African nation of Burundi. Ethnic violence drove them to a refugee camp in neighboring Tanzania.

"We get food. We get water. But people keep killing each other," Jeneseri Bazuwaremye remembers.

In September of 2007, nine of them came to Salt Lake City. The father works full time now, and also studies.

Refugee family to be honored for their hard work

"We are doing very well," the father, Bashire Nigarura, says. "Now we speak English very much."

His wife works at Deseret Industries several days a week and takes English classes.

"Yes, it is very happy," Sarafina Ndagijimana says.

Sarafina is proud of her children, who, in just two years, are good students.

After only one year, Jeneseri was so popular in school he decided to run for student office.

"He got an Afro wig and wrote a rap and ran for eighth grade president and won," explains English teacher Steven Harper.

"When I was president of the eighth great, and I became even more popular, every kid knows my name -- even someone I don't even know," Jeneseri says.

The Bashire family is succeeding. Catholic Community Services is giving them its Unsung Hero Award.

"They deserve this award. I think it's important for me because I see their journey, how hard they work," says Andre Muhimuzi, case manager at Catholic Community Services.

"I would like to thank CCS, because I think they're awesome," Jeneseri says.

Catholic Community Services will honor the Bashire family with its 2009 Unsung Hero Award at a dinner Nov. 17 at Little America Hotel. [CLICK HERE for more information on the dinner and how you can attend]

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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