Photo credit: Talitha Brauer

The final post of a three part series by an American aid worker demystifying the process of refugee relocation in the USA.

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. No one wants to destroy someone’s dreams.

Working in refugee resettlement, you would expect to feel a bit like Santa Claus, helping dreams come true. But in reality, we actually spend a big chunk of our time telling people no.

Having to enforce American laws alongside agency policy can be difficult. At first, it can be uncomfortable when you have to give a client an answer they don’t want to hear. You squirm, awkwardly trying to smooth it over, and reassuring them you will try hard to meet future requests…

Photo credit: Talitha Brauer


A guest post by Sammy P., an American aid worker who has worked Stateside for the last two years with a nonprofit in refugee resettlement.

“We thought it was going to be different,” Ali stated. “This wasn’t the plan.”

Coming out of a war torn country such as Somalia, Syria, or Afghanistan, one might think that any chance to start over would be warmly accepted. But that is not always the case.

Back in his country, Ali was a pediatrician. After years of studying in university, and excelling at his practice, he had built a comfortable life for his wife…

How do refugees access America’s borders and what happens once they arrive? An aid worker answers behind-the-scenes questions in this three part series demystifying the process of refugee relocation in the USA.

A guest post by Sammy P., an American aid worker who has worked Stateside for the last two years with a nonprofit in refugee resettlement.

Refugee resettlement is a term producing a combination of fear and confusion these days.

However, there is a carefully tailored process that has been in effect for sometime here in the USA. Intentionally developed to be selective, protocol is set in place enabling refugee clients to transition to life in the USA safely and efficiently. But many Americans find themselves trying to put the pieces together of how this process really works. …

Application form for a refugee integration course; Fruit is provided daily for lunch at refugee homes; Portable alarm clock. Photo: Talitha Brauer.

As refugees wait for their future to be determined, local Germans also wait to see how their country will change after letting in over a million refugees.

Story by Danica Simonet / editing by Talitha Brauer

A young German woman, born in Poland, decided to move to the United States so that she could pursue an American master’s degree. She moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, where her uncle already lived, and he helped her as she learned English and other cultural norms in order to thrive in the field of Psychology. Eventually, after successfully landing a job as a therapist and starting her own family, she decided to stay in the US, a choice that redefined her sense of home and self.

This woman is my mother…

Fatima* made the treacherous journey from Turkey to Greece with her three young children.

Photos and story by Talitha Brauer

Fatima: I’m 30 years old and come from the Damascus region. We left our home for another city in Syria when the war started. We returned to our area because the government said it was safe, but after 7 days we left because the bombing started again.

My story was really difficult. My son (age 2) had a twin sister who died when he was six months old. She died of a heart condition. …

Rami (L), brother Khaled (R) and their cousin Mohammad (center) are from Syria. Lesvos, Greece, February 2016.

Rami from Syria landed in Lesvos with his brother Khaled, sister Nawal and cousin Mohammad in February 2016.

Photos & Interviews by Talitha Brauer, Translation by Shady Khella

The air was brisk but comfortable in the early February sunshine. I was outside Moria camp on Lesvos Island, where independent volunteers at Better Days for Moria had set up tents, one where people could receive medical care, another where children could play, and others for serving food and tea.

I was asking a Syrian couple whether I could interview them, when their friends joined us. They were two brothers, a sister, and their cousin, en route to Germany. …

I’m back in Greece to highlight a couple of organisations and people who have been working with refugees for a year or more. First up is FAROS, an NGO in Athens, whose mission is “to help unaccompanied refugee minors have dignified and fulfilling lives.”

Yesterday I spent the day with a FAROS team providing all-day activities for minors at a camp on the outskirts of Athen. The camp is in an old airport and the section we were in is a converted sports facilities with a field hockey pitch.

I spent the day with the younger group of kids. Most…

LIEBE BEWEGT means Love Moves.

Berlin, Germany. June 2016: Language teacher Debbie Wright and photographer Talitha Brauer (Brother's Keeper International) brainstormed a new project: Liebe bewegt. The objective? To create space for refugees and Berliners to get to know each other around a common interest. In July, a small band of runners from different backgrounds started training together on Mondays in preparation for the Müggelsee run.

They had one goal in mind: to run together for friendship.

October 16, 2016, 8:30 am: With tired bodies and eager minds, Berliners — old and new — met at Ostkreuz Bahnhof the morning of the race. We were…

Meeting Roya and Ali changed my life. Roya is an 18-year-old from Afghanistan who enjoys taking care of young children in her refugee home, cooking, drinking tea, dancing, and learning German. Her brother Ali is a 15-year-old who enjoys Spanish music, soccer, Bollywood films, and exploring Berlin. I am a 21-year-old, hailing from Northfield, a small town in Minnesota, who enjoys meeting new people and seeing new places.

When our worlds collided, we found unexpected common ground as we learned about one another.

Brother's Keeper International

Stories from Near and Far

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