HIAS Blog

HIAS’ Food Programs Offer Lifeline to Refugees Across the Globe

Posted by HIAS – NY on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 13:27 pm

Addressing the economic challenges of refugees—among the world’s most vulnerable people—is one critical step to reducing poverty in our world. Ethnic conflicts in places like Sudan, Syria, and Columbia have forced 15 million people to flee their home countries often with little more than the clothes on their backs.

In camps and urban areas alike, HIAS provides humanitarian aid and distributes food to refugees to ensure they do not go hungry.

In Chad alone, this year HIAS is distributing more than 8,730


I'm Living Below the Line for HIAS Because HIAS Saved My Life

Posted by Anna Vesely on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 at 11:53 am

When I was only six months old, HIAS saved my life.

I was a very sick infant. In fact, I almost starved to death. So why would I voluntarily agree now to live on $1.50 a day for five days? Because HIAS saved my life as a child, and this is how I’m giving back.

I am from Ukraine where, 19 years ago, medical professionals could do little to help me or my desperate parents. By helping my family reach


Meet the Refugee Inspiring Me to Live Below the Line

Posted by Zhanna Veyts on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 13:04 pm

I know we haven’t met, but I hope you’ll join me in a campaign to change the world.

Twenty-five years ago my parents were Jewish refugees and brought me to the U.S. from Ukraine with HIAS’ help. I grew up Americanized, doing exactly the kinds of things my parents dreamed for me—attending a Jewish school and summer camp, graduating from university, and blazing my unique life path. Last year I came to work for HIAS and, on my first


New Skills Give Darfuri Refugee Woman New Life

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm

At age 40, Amneh Yakum Abbakah is a mother of six, a grandmother of two and, most recently, an entrepreneur. She holds her youngest grandbaby close to her chest as she sets out a welcome mat for visitors to her new shop.

Amneh has been living in Djabal refugee camp in eastern Chad since it opened a decade ago to absorb the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Darfur. Narrowly escaping a ruinous invasion of her home village, she,


Winning Freedom for an HIV/AIDS Specialist in Iran

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Before his sudden and unexpected arrest for “communicating with an enemy government,” Dr. Arash Alaei created a model HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment system in Iran.

A renowned physician and internationally recognized expert in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, Dr. Alaei and his brother established Iran’s first clinic specializing in HIV/AIDS and spent a decade building a public health system to address the pandemic. Under his guidance, the country instituted the distribution of free condoms in healthcare clinics, initiated a nationwide needle-exchange program, and opened methadone


HIAS Welcomes UNHCR Guidelines on Draft Evasion—New Hope for Eritrean Asylum Seekers in Israel?

Posted by HIAS – NY on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 15:33 pm

In a welcome move, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued guidelines on refugee claims based on objection to military service. In addition to aiding governments and refugee advocates around the world, the guidelines will be particularly helpful to the government of Israel, which has a large backlog of Eritrean asylum claims on this basis. Israel’s current policy is to reject the asylum claims of those fleeing military service. Many Eritreans have fled indefinite conscription in a brutal military


Eliminating Barriers to Protection for Syrian Refugees Seeking Sanctuary in the U.S.

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 15:16 pm

Widely acknowledged as the worst crisis in decades, the conflict in Syria has displaced well over 2 million people; over half, or an estimated 1.2 million, are children—already being referred to as "Syria's lost generation." As the conflict worsens, refugees continue to flee the chaos and violence and seek sanctuary in neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey. What is to become of them in the long run?

Although most Syrians would like to return home, it is unlikely they will be


Paving a Path of Welcome for Refugees: The Linking Communities Project (TLC Project)

Posted by HIAS – DC on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 14:18 pm

Bob Marmor, President and CEO of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, a HIAS refugee resettlement partner, says the political backlash against refugee resettlement that has emerged in communities across the U.S. recently erupted in Springfield. The city’s mayor had pushed back against the resettlement of refugees there, saying that they place a burden on municipal resources and calling on the U.S. State Department to stop the flow of refugees.

“The American public doesn’t know who refugees are anymore,” Bob said.


Former Soviet Refugee Gives Back

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 13:48 pm

Twenty-three years on, Roman C., 30, a former Jewish refugee from Moldova, still remembers his first time at an arcade in the U.S., staring longingly at the “insert a coin” slot on a video game message and knowing he couldn’t possibly afford to play. A woman came over and handed him a quarter. “I was completely baffled by the act of kindness,” he says. The memory has always stayed with him.

When Roman was only seven years old, he and his


Home and Hope for a Congolese Teen Refugee on the Run

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 11:29 am

Though Nicia* is only 16 years old, her beyond-her-years wisdom has already saved her life several times over.

Two years ago, Nicia was living with her mother and stepfather in Boko, Congo, when war broke out in their village, forcing them to flee. Nicia’s stepfather, a Mai Mai rebel fighter, took the family to the rebels’ camp, hoping they would be protected. Shortly after they arrived, a rebel approached the family asking to marry Nicia.

Only 14 at the time, Nicia insisted


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