Fatima’s Story

Path to Citizenship

Fatima Ramirez

YWCA Tulsa

Fatima Ramirez thought she knew English when she first arrived in the U.S., but quickly figured out that her 6th-grade English classes in Mexico had only taken her so far.

“I felt ignorant. In Mexico I was a talkative, friendly person, but here I felt alone,” said Fatima.

Fatima and her husband spent much of 13 years of marriage separated as he tried to make the best life possible for them in the U.S., while she and their three children lived in Mexico.

After her husband attained his citizenship, Fatima and her children were able to come to the U.S. in 2007.

“I was told Oklahoma was desert and tornadoes, but when we got here it was green and beautiful! But, most importantly, I wanted to keep my family together,” she said.

But when she arrived here and tried to enroll her children in school, she determined that she might need some help. “I needed English to go to the doctor and the market, it’s the most important thing,” she said.

That’s where the YWCA Tulsa’s immigrant and refugee services program was able to step in and help. They helped Fatima with papers to acquire her hair stylist’s license. She enrolled in health classes in Spanish and started volunteering with the drop-in childcare program. She was asked to work as a receptionist full time and leads the Los Pescesitos Spanish-speaking swim lesson program for children.

But her biggest hurdle was still to come. Fatima wanted to earn her citizenship.

She began taking classes through the YWCA’s Project Citizenship program. They helped her learn everything she would need to know to pass her test and ace her interview. They worked on her English comprehension and listening skills she would need to answer the oral questions correctly.

“I had to be very ready for the questions and listen very carefully. They [the YWCA instructors] helped us realize that we needed to take our time and ask them [the interviewers] to repeat the questions if necessary,” Fatima remembered.

Fatima studied hard and passed her citizenship class. She is currently waiting to attend her ceremony.