As a child, my grandmother arrived from Belarus to Ellis Island with her sister and parents, around 1910.
Her sister though had red eye, conjunctivitis, which though not serious was highly contagious and on the list of diseases that excluded one from entering the U.S. (as did syphilis and TB).
I had just started working for Refugees International when I was sent out on mission to Bosnia. The war was raging and I was new to humanitarian work and stunned when I arrived by NATO helicopter into Sarajevo. A day later, the first reports were coming out of Srebrenica.
I'm no different to the people like me in Africa and I believe that they too can overcome their barriers and achieve their potentials if they are given the opportunity.
“Remarkably, the loss of a limb helped Dhuhulow, who came to Britain as a refugee, discover a talent for long-distance running”.
I was forced into labour and mistreated by the Burmese soldiers but I thought of a solution: I might die here if they continue treating me like this so I should run away. I was not afraid to die, everyone dies. But at that time, I felt like I was not ready to die. I need to take care after my parents and wife.
I am proud to live in a free country, and strive to welcome people from any background, to allow them the freedoms and self-actualisation we allow ourselves to have.
“In North Korea, I lived for Kim Jong Il. In England I live for myself”. This is a statement made by a student I was teaching English to, whilst training and developing myself as an English teacher.
"There are many aspects of life where it’s not us but the refugees who can teach us how to cope with difficult situations, how to find strength inside to keep going and accept changes."
Michaela is a social worker and she has a very important message to tell you.
In Burma, I lived in a small village. I am part of the Karen people – an ethnic minority in Burma. We were persecuted by the Burmese authorities. The village had Christian and Buddhist people who separated and started fighting.
At the end of 1994, the authorities told us to leave within two weeks. My family fled over the border to Thailand…