Berthe Mairounga, who is originally from Chad, holds the business card for the African fashion line she is hoping to start in Chapel Hill, N.C. The card gives her contact information as well as the names of her six children. Berthe moved to the United States in 2010 as a refugee. Government soldiers in Chad burned her hands and her face and took her husband, leaving her as a single mother. After living in United States for five years, Berthe is establishing a new life as an American and an African.
Two of Mairounga's sons, Prosper (left) and Mustafa, play in front of their home in the Northside neighborhood in Chapel Hill. Mairounga moved the North Carolina on September 22, 2010.
Berthe watches cartoons with two of her sons, Mustafa (left) and Prosper. "The first time I moved here, it was harder for me, because it is a new home and a new language and new food."
Pictures of Berthe's family sit on top of the piano in her living room, including a photograph of her mother (right), who is still living in Chad. Her mother is hoping to come to the United States but has been stalled by the United States government.
Mustafa waves to Berthe from inside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office in Durham on Nov. 6, 2015. After living in the United States for five years, Berthe was able to pass her citizenship test after her first attempt. She arrived to her swearing-in ceremony a few minutes before it began.
Irene, one of Berthe's daughters, adjusts the American flags in her hair before the ceremony. By passing the citizenship test, all of Berthe's children were able to become U.S. citizens.
Irene points to Chad on the world map on the back wall of the ceremony room. "This is where we're from," she explained to her younger brother, Prosper.
Berthe raises her hand to swear her loyalty to the United States as a naturalized citizen.
Berthe's friends take pictures of her and her family after the ceremony. "It was hard for me at first, with no friends...and then, God (brought) me a lot of people."
Berthe raises her hands in celebration as she leaves the building after becoming a U.S. citizen. "The first day I came, I need to go back...It's hard for me. But I learn English fast. For five years I learn English, and I become a citizen. Everything is great."