Paths out of poverty: Refugees in Hamilton

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By Bill Dunphy

A little over 10 years ago, two men fled the corruption, chaos and horrific violence of their respective homelands and arrived in Hamilton, penniless and hopeful.

They were Simon Mach, an impossibly tall Sudanese refugee, a registered nurse and the father of four, and Solomon Germossa, an Ethiopian farmer’s son turned journalist, newly released from prison and fleeing government persecution.

Both men landed in poverty and quickly began looking for the path that would lead them out: two different men, two different paths.

Ten years later, only one of them has succeeded in lifting himself and his family out of poverty. Their stories mirror not only the refugee experience, but the city’s own experience as the gap widens between those living in poverty and those who’ve succeeded in avoiding it.

Back in 2005, data gathered by the Social Planning Research Council revealed that a startling one out of every two recent immigrants to this city was living in poverty.

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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