Thair Dawood

My wife and I, both doctors in Iraq, were forced to leave our home and apply for refugee status in the United States. Finally settling in El Cajon, we began immediately to use the El Cajon Branch Library, with the goal of studying to transfer our medical licenses to our new country.

Although we were already fluent in English, we had to attend an English-as-a-Second-Language class to meet the requirements of the refugee resettlement agency. With the support of the library branch manager and the Welfare-to-Work contractor for the County, we created the nation's first public library Professional Group Study partnership, where refugee professionals could study fulltime in order to bring their careers to the United States.

When I was accepted into a medical residency program in Michigan in the summer of 2012, it was the happiest day of my life. I'm now a fulltime medical resident and my wife is preparing for her application. I will never forget the kindness and spirit of giving that was shown to us by the staff at the El Cajon Library, and I miss them very much.