On January 17, 2024, Amudu Salongo will celebrate one year in the US.
Amudu was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but fled to Uganda, where he spent ten years. Swahili is his first language (including the Congolese, Kenyan, and Tanzanian dialects), but he also speaks English, French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Lingala, and Luganda.
Mr. Salongo currently makes his living as an interpreter, but that wasn’t his first career choice. Amudu earned a high school diploma in general pedagogy, which qualified him to be a teacher in his home country. He also pursued a degree in Medical Laboratory but was forced to flee before completing his course work.
While in asylum, Amudu noticed the deprivation of rights for so many people due to their lack of access to vital information. Witnessing this so moved him that he began sharing his language skills with asylum seekers, police, and religious leaders. People in these groups increasingly recommended him to several other organizations.
“Being an interpreter for the last ten years, seeing how my services have contributed to positively changing the lives of so many, especially when working with the (international migrant and refugee agencies) UNHCR, IOM, and USCIS overseas, has always been why I never consider going far from this nature of work,” says Amudu.
This journey of helping his community started in 2013 and has become not only a source of income but also a source of pride for him.