Catholic Charities helps family recover from decade in refugee camp
to find out how you can volunteer with Migration and Refugee Services.
By CAROL ANNE BLITZER, Advocate staff writer
Published in The Advocate: Mar 5, 2011
On Dec. 4, Celestin and Jeannette Kasongo and their 10 children arrived in Baton Rouge to complete a 12-year journey to freedom.
Through the work of Migration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and with the assistance of a group of dedicated volunteers, the family is making the transition from hunger and misery in a refugee camp in Zambia, Africa, to a new life in America.
Sally James, an LSU student, and her mother, Jeanne James, have made the Kasongo family an important part of their lives since first meeting the oldest son, Mulumba Kasongo, at a high-school dinner Dec. 18 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church.
There were several leftover pizzas, so members of the church brought the pizzas to the Kasongo family.
“Everyone was charmed by them,” Jeanne James said. “They saw that they had so many needs, all things we take for granted.”
They were also moved by the story of the Kasongo family beginning with the parents, Jeannette and Celestin Kasongo, who grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo and were married there in 1987.
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2011 WBRZ news story
2011 Foster Grandparent Celebration photo album