Country of Origin: Sudan
Azhaar and Fouad are from Sudan and hold degrees from Cairo University. Azhaar studied law and Fouad studied accounting. Azhaar grew up in the capital, Khartoum, and Fouad grew up in the Nuba Mountains.
Azhaar remembers a colorful childhood, playing with her friends in streets illuminated by moonlight. Growing up, she looked up to her father, who made education a priority for his children.
Beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present, the Nuba Mountains War forced Azhaar and Fouad to flee their homes. The couple decided to leave the country and relocate to Egypt. Fouad left first, in 2000, and Azhaar followed in 2004. While in Egypt, the couple began their studies. Azhaar tells us that she chose to study law because she believes that a degree is more powerful than a gun.
For Azhaar, the hardest part of leaving home was the absence of her father, whose health had been rapidly declining. He had lost his hearing, which meant that every time she called him, someone would have to transcribe the call for him to understand.
Due to his illness, he was only able to pray while sitting down, a ritual that typically requires standing up.
While in Egypt, the couple applied for asylum and were resettled to New Haven, Connecticut on June 22nd, 2015. That same year, Azhaar’s father passed away, further amplifying the pain of leaving home.
Azhaar hopes that she has made her father proud, and continues to draw inspiration from his resilience and belief in his children.