Personal Stories


Only in America: How a Ugandan Refugee Became a Louisiana Success Story

Feb 13, 2018

Daulat Sthanki arrived in New Orleans in November 1972 with a single bag. Uganda’s loss would ultimately be Louisiana’s, and America’s, gain.

Why We Welcomed Refugees into Our Home on Thanksgiving

Dec 01, 2017

Hearing of their experiences brought home the many reasons we have to be truly thankful; for our freedoms, for our opportunities, for the comforts we enjoy.

A Refugee Family's Journey to Charlotte

Jun 16, 2017

Charlotte Magazine recently published a feature story about a Syrian family who finally found refuge in the United States after a four-year ordeal. The happy ending to a challenging chapter in their life was imperiled by the first executive order, which halted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspended the refugee admissions program.

Going the Distance for Refugees. Literally.

Jun 14, 2017

Melinda Menzer, an English professor at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, swam 9.2 miles in the Tennessee River on Sunday, June 4 to raise money for HIAS.

Make America Great (By Welcoming Refugees) Again

Apr 03, 2017

Former USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez recently penned an op-ed for Reuters firmly opposing President Trump's executive orders banning immigrants and refugees.

Iraqi Refugee Advocates for Disability Rights in Texas

Feb 15, 2017

“After I lost my vision, there was nothing for me to do in Iraq. There, they don’t believe that a person with a disability is capable of doing anything,” Qusay said. “I can’t tolerate that. I can’t envision myself just sitting at home. My dreams are bigger than that.”

Soviet Jews Push Back on Trump’s Executive Order

Feb 03, 2017

“Refugee status is not merely a stamp on paper; it's a state of mind and heart which forces one to risk it all for better life. We feel affinity and kinship to those in the same plight.”

Teens Win Status With Legal Help From HIAS: “It Feels Good to Live Without Fear”

Nov 29, 2016

Nerea, Oliver, and Eduardo have experienced more violence than any child should. In Honduras, they were stalked by MS13, a notorious street gang, and moved into their aunt and uncle’s home in a neighboring city in an effort to escape. But that was just the start.

Voting for the First Time, Former Refugees Embrace Democracy

Nov 04, 2016

“We became refugees in the first place because there was no democratic process, no freedom. So how can you stay in your house and say your vote doesn’t count?”

Syrian Family Lands in Maryland, Gets Big Welcome from Local Synagogue

Sep 07, 2016

At 6 p.m. on Thursday evening, Karen Green is abuzz with last minute preparations. In just a few hours, she’ll be at Reagan National airport to meet the Syrian refugee family her congregation has spent the last 10 days anxiously preparing for.