United African Organization

Citizenship Program Described “Like Magic” by Participant

December 19, 2013NancyBlog

Newly-minted American citizen Afiavi Amouzoo had one word to describe to the Free Citizenship Workshop: magic.

When asked about her experience at the workshop, Amouzoo replied, “All I had to do was give them my ID and my green card and then it was just like magic!”

Free Citizenship Workshop Alum Afiavi Amouzoo

An aspiring nurse and resident of Chicago for the past seven years, Amouzoo came to the US as a refugee in 2006. Thanks to the outreach of the United African Organization (UAO), Amouzoo attended the Free Citizenship Workshop and received American citizenship this past summer.

Amouzoo’s path to American citizenship started one fateful day a year or so back when she drove her cousin to an appointment at UAO’s offices located on the IIT campus. Her cousin, the owner and operator of a daycare business, was receiving assistance from UAO in filling out paperwork. While waiting for her cousin, Amouzoo met UAO Program Coordinator Nancy Asirifi-Otchere and received a brochure for the Free Citizenship Workshop. In April of 2013, she attended the Free Citizenship Workshop and received citizenship a few months later.

Amouzoo and UAO Program Coordinator Nancy Asirifi-Otchere discuss services

Born in Togo, Amouzoo greatly values the many job and educational opportunities in the US. Despite having received her diploma in Togo, Amouzoo encountered great difficulties in finding a job there. “Life was not bad, but it was difficult to get a job. So I came here to study and have a better life,” Amouzoo said.

Since becoming an American citizen, Amouzoo has acquired many new benefits. As an American citizen, she now has the ability to return home to Togo for visits, a privilege previously prohibited while she was still a refugee.

Amouzoo also sees citizenship as important for her own job security. She knows others whose professional advancement has been hindered by their green card status.

Amouzoo is grateful for the services provided to her by UAO and plans to volunteer with UAO in the future. ”I want to help. I want to do something for the community and for the organization because they helped me,” she said.

For all those considering attending the workshop and applying for citizenship, she has a simple message, “I would encourage them to do it, to go to the workshop and get it done.”

by Max Woxland, UAO Intern

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