All posts tagged: Syria

I Invited a Refugee Family Home to Dinner, and It Changed My Life

Over the course of the past election cycle, I was taken aback at the backlash against refugees. I also realized I didn’t personally know any refugees. I decided that if this was an important issue I was going to care about, I needed to better understand and know the refugee community. My family, if polled, would likely say I have never met a cause I didn’t support. I fell into working at a nonprofit in my early 20’s. I was unsettled and without a career path when a mentor suggested I would make a good fundraiser and offered me a job. I took her advice and flourished. I spent most of my career in a variety of nonprofit roles but took a sharp turn this past fall when I decided that I wanted to work directly with refugees. I started with a fairly basic understanding of refugees being people who were forced to flee their homes and their countries because of persecution or danger to their lives. As a researcher, I like learning and knowing …

A Stranger on the Road: A Syrian Woman Finds a New Home in Connecticut

It’s been a volatile time for refugees trying to get to America, especially since January 27 when Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the judicial system’s fast reversal of the ban created a window of opportunity — and something of a roller coaster ride — for refugees who had been previously cleared for entry. Syrian refugee Fradh Alfaawri and her four children rode that roller coaster last week. The back story: Alfaawri escaped war-torn Syria in 2013 after her husband died in police custody. The family lived in a Jordanian refugee camp for four years before they heard the good news: The U.S. would accept all five of them as refugees. But less than a week before they were to leave, Trump imposed his ban, leaving them stranded, “shocked and very, very sad,” Alfaawri told the press through an interpreter. And then another phone call: If the family could board a plane in three hours, they would, they were told, be admitted after all. Some days …

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Why I Took a Trip to Greece to Help Syrian Refugees

Only once — when an overcrowded night ferry backed into Gate E7 at Athens’ Port of Piraeus — did my emotions consume me. My breath grew fast and shallow. I squinted through my tears and stammered, “There are so many of them. There are just so many.” There were more than 2,000 refugees on that ferry alone, 35 percent of them children. As a volunteer with the nonprofit Carry the Future, my job was to approach arriving families with babies and toddlers and offer them free baby carriers to ease their journey along the Balkan Route to Western Europe. The families I met were primarily Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans bound for Germany — as long as the borders stayed open. Over the course of their journey, they would cover 1,000 miles on buses, trains and foot. A structured backpack-style carrier or a cozy infant pouch would make an enormous difference to those toting children along with garbage bags and duffels of their belongings. There are just so many. “One baby at a time. That’s all …