September 9, 2019
By Julie Gersten
New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world and home to millions of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. As the Refugee Action Fund deepens its work to respond to the global refugee crisis, I’m thrilled that we have launched our New York Leadership Committee! This Committee is comprised of dedicated individuals in the financial industry—many of whom are from immigrant families themselves. Together, they will expand our network of supporters and serve as ambassadors for the Refugee Action Fund in the New York Metropolitan area.
I hope you’ll take a minute to get to know our New York Leadership Committee members and learn why they’re responding to the refugee crisis.
May 15, 2019
By Julie Gersten
Recently, I was invited to travel to Lebanon with the International Refugee Assistance Project, an organization supported by Refugee Action Fund that provides legal advocacy for refugees and displaced people in need of a safe place to call home. The trip was designed to train law students and lawyers to do legal intake on Syrian refugees. IRAP is not only the first organization to provide direct legal services to refugees throughout the process of UNHCR registration, refugee status determination, protection, and resettlement; they also work with law schools and law firms to build the capacity and availability of lawyers to do this critical work. Here are some reflections from my experience.
Sitting on the airplane to Beirut, I tried to prepare myself for meeting refugee families whose lives are engulfed by hardship. I reviewed the 10-page legal intake form I received from the International Refugee Assistance Project. The questions go on and on, probing the most specific and personal details of people’s lives and their trauma.
Six days later, when I sat in a room across from a Syrian family desperate to resettle to a country where their son could get treatment for his serious medical condition, I was surprised to learn that neither of the parents could read.