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Amani Ali got a big surprise Saturday.

The 18-year-old Syrian refugee struggles to walk due to a muscular condition. Her family arrived in the United States about a month ago and her parents aren’t yet working.

When a group of volunteers presented her with a bright red electric wheelchair during an event to welcome refugees at the Louisville Islamic Center, her eyes welled with excitement.

The chair will help her navigate the hallways of her new school here in Louisville and will make life easier for the teen who has experienced the nightmare of war and the long journey to America.

The Ali family is from Aleppo, a Syrian city ravaged by years of war.

Listen to their story in the audio player above.

Her father, Debo, worked for years at a shoe factory in the city. He’s got dark hair, a weathered face and thick hands from a life of work. His family lived a quiet, normal life until the war began and the bombs began falling.

To avoid the deadly explosions, the family had to continuously be on the move from place to place, which proved difficult for Amani.

They fled to Jordan, where medical care was difficult to find and some rejected the refugee family. Debo set his sights on America, the country he’d seen in movies during his childhood and often dreamed of visiting.

“Beautiful America,” he said through a translator.

Three years later, they arrived. And they come at a tumultuous time in American history.

Refugees and immigrants are embraced by many across the country, while at the same time considered threats to public safety by the Trump administration.

In Louisville, though, Debo, his wife and five children have been met with a warm welcome, he said. Still, he’s well aware of the tension pressing down on many refugees. His children are, too.

He tells them to ignore the people that look down on them and keep faith in God and have hope that President Trump will find empathy for the families — like his — trapped in conflict in countries across the world.

“They should have a chance to come,” he said.

And for some Americans, Trump’s actions are leading to tough conversations with children about acceptance and anger.

Becky Ruby Swansberg joined a few hundred people at the Louisville Islamic Center Saturday to offer a welcome message to the Ali family and other refugees who’ve fled war-torn regions.

She reads the newspaper each evening and conveys the stories to her two young twins.

“It’s been a challenge to help them understand what’s going on in the world,” she said.

It’s important they know that not everyone gets along in the world and that they’re lucky to be in America, she said.

But her children, both in kindergarten, often struggle to grasp why people would dismiss another based on their race or where they’re from.

That, she says, is a reason for hope.

“Kids are able to sometimes see the purity of things that adults — clouded by politics or religion affiliations — sometimes aren’t,” Ruby Swansberg said.

For Debo Ali, seeing his daughter in her new chair is a blessing. As is the warm welcome he’s met here in Louisville.

And though there’s much to be overwhelmed by — he speaks no English, he’s unsure where he’ll work and he knows many people who are still in limbo due to President Trump’s actions — as he looks around the Islamic Center, a smile fills his face.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.