Letter to Refugees Thrive Supporters

Written by Abigail Sylvester, Refugees Thrive International Co-Founder & Board President

Greetings, Refugees Thrive Supporters!

I’m delighted to become the next Board President of Refugees Thrive International. It is an honor to lead this community and organization in our mutual effort to create a world in which refugees are safe and healthy, their rights are respected, and they are empowered to make their own decisions about their futures.

I’m thrilled to introduce our new board member — Chris Opila. Chris has extensive experience working with refugees in Egypt with our operating partner St. Andrew’s Refugee Services, as well as in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. We are excited about the leadership he brings to Refugees Thrive.

In the midst of these transitions at Refugees Thrive, the US government is reducing the number of refugees admitted to the United States at an historic low and restricting migrant and asylum seeker access in unprecedented ways. This drastic shift has put even more pressure on organizations like St. Andrew’s Refugees Services operating in developing countries neighboring conflict and hardship. StARS provides critical services to refugees who have fled their home country, but are uncertain where they will go next.

During these difficult times, stories like Hassan’s* remind me why we founded Refugees Thrive three years ago. In his home country, Hassan and his parents were imprisoned and tortured because officials unjustly questioned the family’s allegiance to the government. Hassan escaped and fled to Cairo at age 17. Alone, without resources, and incredibly vulnerable, Hassan stumbled upon StARS where he received financial assistance, education, housing, and eventually a job. Most importantly, Hassan found hope and a community. Dare I say he began to thrive.

Students in class at St. Andrew’s Refugee Services Cairo, Egypt

We founded Refugees Thrive to raise awareness about individuals like Hassan and to channel resources to organizations like StARS that are providing life saving services to refugees. With your help, we have brought worlds closer and forged strong partnerships with our neighbors around the world.

Thank you for your continued support.

Abigail Sylvester is the Board President and Co-Founder of Refugees Thrive International. Learn more about Refugees Thrive International on our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Refugees Thrive International envisions a world in which all refugees are safe and healthy, refugee rights are respected and protected, and refugees are empowered to make their own decisions about their future. Our mission is to raise awareness and fund local organizations in developing countries to ensure refugees have the protection and support they need to thrive.