Olivier Kamndon in better days with six of his eight children, 
and Del Norte High School teacher Melinda Forward

Refugee, JCC Employee, and Father of Eight Faces Catastrophic Injuries

On May 15, Jewish Community Center employee Olivier Kamndon, a refugee from the Central African Republic, was the pedestrian victim of a hit-and-run accident. Olivier was struck while crossing the street near the intersection of Montgomery and Carlisle NE.  A 19-year old, who was driving an unregistered vehicle, has been identified as the driver.

Olivier, his wife and eight children arrived in Albuquerque last October, having faced incredible adversity. The family survived civil war in the Central African Republic and lived in a refugee camp in Chad before making it to the United States.  JCC gave Olivier his first job so that he could support his family and start a new life.

Olivier sustained severe injuries and has been in the Intensive Care Unit at UNM Hospital since the accident. His neck was broken in two places, he remains on a ventilator, and doctors have said that he will be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life. The family is devastated.

Olivier had been the breadwinner for the family. His wife, Higuette, is now left to provide for the family, which includes an infant with cerebral palsy and another child with seizures. The family is facing incredible need and will for some time as they struggle to overcome this terrible tragedy.

The Albuquerque community has stepped up to assist. JCC employees donated a large amount of sick leave to Olivier, JCC has taken several of the children into summer camp, and funds have been established for the Kamndon family. 

Here’s how to help:

  • Donate to the JCC at: jccabq.org. Click “Donate” and select “Olivier Kamndon Family Fund” from the drop down menu.
  • Donate to Lutheran Family Services at: lfsrm.org/give-now/. In the Comment box, type “Kamndon Family Fund — ABQ” and in the Designation box, select Refugees and Asylees.

All funds raised will go directly to the Kamndon family to pay for rent, food and basic necessities.

When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I the Eternal am your God.”  Leviticus 19:33-34.

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