La Posada shelters families seeking asylum

La Posada shelters families seeking asylum

Saba with her children: 11-year-old Sarah, 5-year-old Rohama, and 7-month-old Gabriel at La Posada Providencia in San Benito.

SAN BENITO — All Saba wanted for herself and her three children was freedom.

Facing civil unrest in her home country of Ethiopia, she said, that dream had seemed almost unattainable.

Her husband, an outspoken civil rights advocate, had been jailed, she said. Fearing for the safety of her family, she said, she left her home and came to the United States.

As asylum seekers, Saba, who did not want her last name used, now lives with her children at La Posada Providencia in San Benito.

“I’m free. I can say what I want, and I am not scared anymore,” Saba said.

Founded in 1989 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, La Posada offers shelter for immigrants, asylum seekers and asylees recently processed by United States immigration authorities.

In August the shelter welcomed its 8,000th client during a surge of immigrants arriving in the Rio Grande Valley, many of them from Central America. Since its opening almost 26 years ago, the shelter has served clients from more than 70 countries.

Earlier this year the shelter saw a spike in clients as more families in Central America began fleeing from increasing violence.

“These families are fleeing from violent gangs who threaten their lives and the takeover of their homes,” Sister Zita Telkamp, the shelter’s program director, said of the influx from Central America. “Trying to find a safe place for their children, they abandon families, friends and everything they love and know to embark on perilous journeys to seek refuge in the United States.”

La Posada Providencia is one of 15 organizations benefiting from AIM Media Texas Charities’ inaugural campaign to raise funds for the hungry, homeless and those in need of basic essentials in the Valley. AIM Media Texas is the parent company of the Valley Morning Star, Brownsville Herald and Monitor.

The shelter is where Saba and her family found refuge and help adjusting to a new life away from their home.

She says her journey began because of civil unrest in her country. At the time of her husband’s arrest, she said, she was pregnant. She said that she and her two daughters, Sarah, 11, and Rohama, 5, were chastised and intimidated by Ethiopian government officials.

Saba said she feared that she could be jailed or killed at any time. So she took her daughters and fled the country with the little money she had.

In October, the family, now including 7-month-old Gabriel, arrived at the Texas-Mexico border, where they were detained by border officials who then handed them over to the care of the San Benito-based shelter.

At La Posada they do more than provide safe shelter; they help ensure their….read more.

By KAYLEIGH SOMMER | STAFF WRITER

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