Svetlana's Fundraiser to Support HIAS' Ukraine Crisis Response

$37,739

My HIAS Fundraiser for Ukrainian Refugees

With the start of the school year comes the inevitable “Immigration Story” assignment. Being the one recent immigrant in my husband’s extended family means I get to re-live my youthMore...

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My HIAS Fundraiser for Ukrainian Refugees

With the start of the school year comes the inevitable “Immigration Story” assignment. Being the one recent immigrant in my husband’s extended family means I get to re-live my youth growing up in Ukraine, every year. Another young, adorable, and wide-eyed middle-schooler will ask for an interview. Even though I pepper my story with entertaining anecdotes from my days over there and first years here, it is quite ordinary. Confusion, anxiety, homesickness -- not much different from any other immigrant story in New York.

As I am writing this, the ‘old country’ feels rather close to home. Setting all politics aside, there is a refugee crisis brewing in Ukraine and its neighbors. As bombs fall, millions of refugees are escaping across the border. I look out my window at the Verrazano Bridge and think of the bridges exploding, the air-raid sirens, and the friends huddled in bomb shelters.

I need to act.

Because of my immigrant success story, I have the opportunity to help. But how? I recall that as we immigrated, one organization was always there to hold our hands. HIAS handled our asylum claims, arranged our trip, paid for our plane fare and our rent, and arranged for English language classes. Above all, they were a steadying hand in a difficult and disorienting time – and I was not fleeing a warzone.

HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has been helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. They were created to help Jewish refugees settle in the United States but over the years they have expanded globally. For their achievements, they have earned a coveted 4 of 4 stars on Charity Navigator -- an Exceptional “Give with Confidence” organization*.

The recent war in Ukraine is not the first urgent refugee crisis HIAS responded to in recent history. They have worked in Chad, Kenya, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Syria, Austria, and Greece. Recently they’ve provided aid to Haiti and Afghanistan. HIAS is now in Poland, helping recently arrived Ukrainian refugees with housing, food, and therapy.

My moving-to-the-US anniversary is March 29th. I want to celebrate that anniversary by pledging our donations to HIAS to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The clock would stop at midnight on that day. With your gifts, we can turn this ordinary immigration story into something extraordinary.

* Almost all of the donated funds go directly towards helping refugees. During the last three tax years they reported on average that administrative expenses are 17%. Every donation to HIAS is tax deductible.

About HIAS

With a record high of nearly 80 million refugees and forcibly displaced people worldwide, your support is more crucial than ever.

For over a century, HIAS has been there for refugees when and where they need help most. Now working in the United States and 15 other countries, we provide vital services to refugees and asylum seekers of all faiths so they can rebuild their lives—over 1.4 million in 2020. With the Jewish community beside us, we also advocate for the rights of forcibly displaced people globally. Over our expansive history and with your partnership, we’ve confronted—and overcome—formidable challenges facing refugees.

There have never been more people seeking safety and so few places willing to protect and welcome them. Refugees deserve a world in which they find welcome, safety, and opportunity. With your support, we can create it.

Refugees Making a Difference. Watch more from HIAS.

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