Meet Bak – a former refugee from South Sudan. In 1987, Bak fled from his village as it was under attack during a civil war. Leaving behind his family, which he presumes was killed in the attacks, Bak walked barefoot for three months across South Sudan to escape the brutality he had witnessed. He finally arrived at an Ethiopian refugee camp, where he would spend the next four years of his childhood. When war broke out there, he was driven out of the camp at gunpoint with the other refugees, eventually traveling to another camp in Kenya where he lived for the next nine years.
In 2001, Bak traveled to the United States. Five years later, he became a U.S. citizen and was able to travel to back to South Sudan for the first time. While there, he met the woman who would become his fiancé. Together, they had a daughter and a son, but had to live apart until Bak found the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC). The IIIC played a critical role in reuniting Bak’s family. They worked with him through each step of filing the immigration paperwork necessary to allow his finance and children to come to the U.S. Bak’s family flew to Boston in May 2014, and today they are happily living together.
The Boston Bar Foundation provides funding to the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), to provide legal assistance to low income and disadvantaged individuals from around the world seeking to resolve immigration issues, gain citizenship and escape poverty. Last year alone, with the help of BBF funding, the IIIC helped over 1,700 immigrants throughout the city.