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HIAS Blog

  • Eid Mubarak: HIAS Staff at the White House

    Aug 01, 2016

    Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim celebration held at the end of the month-long period of fasting known as Ramadan. It’s a day of togetherness, when families and neighbors gather, all in their best clothes. There are lights, and candy for the kids, and a general atmosphere of festiveness that resembles Christmas or Hanukah.
  • Sudanese Refugees Making a Difference in Chad

    Jul 28, 2016

    So much of what I saw in these refugee camps was artificial–buildings that don’t belong in the middle of a desert, and people who don’t belong in the camps. By empowering refugees to become agents of change in their own communities, HIAS is helping to restore their dignity and self-sufficiency.
  • Stories of Strength, Survival and Success: Asylum Seekers in Israel

    Jul 25, 2016

    After escaping persecution in Eritrea, Asmait made her way to Israel, where she became a custodian in a neighborhood school. Despite her hard work, the students teased her ruthlessly. Their attitudes changed only after a teacher asked Asmait to share her story with them. “It felt strengthening,” explained Asmait. “I knew then that the reason people are not happy to see us is just because they do not know our story.”
  • For Refugees and Volunteers Alike, There’s No Place Like Home

    Jul 21, 2016

    Marina Berger, a personal chef, got involved with HIAS after hearing her rabbi speak about the Syrian refugee crisis during Yom Kippur services last fall. She recognized a familiar name among the organizations that were mentioned as helping refugees in the United States. “HIAS resettled my parents, brother and extended family when they emigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1970s,” Berger said.
  • Fun and Laughter in Kampala: Day of the African Child

    Jul 19, 2016

    Laughter. Face painting. A few spunky kids telling jokes. It was the kind of scene you’d expect at a party for children anywhere around the world. This one just happened to be in Kampala, Uganda and most of the children enjoying the festivities were, in fact, refugees.
  • New Bill Would Strengthen, Update Refugee Law

    Jul 14, 2016

    The Refugee Protection Act of 2016—introduced today by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Zoe Lofgren of California—would provide critical protections, including ensuring due process for refugees and asylum seekers and allowing more refugee families to stay together. The bill would also modernize our refugee resettlement program and simplify asylum procedures, providing much needed reforms.
  • A Joyful Life Becomes a Work of Art

    Jul 12, 2016

    Even more than the perpetual smile on his face, Sebazira Amatutule is known for his eagerness to help others. After 17 years in a refugee camp, Amatutule was resettled to the U.S. with his two children. Despite working full time as a landscaper and raising two kids on his own, he always makes time to help anyone who asks. Amatutule’s inspiring story is now part of a photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
  • Some Heartening News for Refugees from Recent Brookings Polls

    Jul 11, 2016

    Last month, the Brookings Institution released polling results showing that a majority of Americans support opening their doors to refugees escaping conflict in the Middle East.
  • Countdown to Resettlement: Iranian Refugees Prepare for Life in the US

    Jul 06, 2016

    When I walk into the cultural orientation session, intended to help prepare this group of Iranian refugees for life in the U.S., they are in the middle of a game. All of the participants, young and old, jump up and rush to find seats. One young woman, who is not trying particularly hard to find a chair, feigns disappointment at having to answer the next question.
  • Interfaith With Impact: HIAS Volunteers Join Multifaith Effort for Syrian Refugees

    Jun 30, 2016

    In a powerful show of support for Syrian refugees, close to 1,000 volunteers gathered in the historic 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, assembling personal hygiene kits for those who have fled the Syrian civil war. “It made me feel part of a larger community. One that is saying to the recipients of these packages, there are people who care about you. You are not forgotten,” said Laurel Garron, a HIAS volunteer.

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