Some came alone. Some escaped with their families. All dreamed of living in peace.

See Their Stories

See Their Stories

One hundred years ago, people of strong faith, love and compassion founded our organization to help individuals and families struggling with life’s most challenging issues. Today, we share the stories of the individuals who came to us through our refugee resettlement program… stories of great loss and great hope.

Refugees are among the most vulnerable in our community. CFC has launched the “See Their Stories” campaign in effort to bring clarity to the mistrust and misunderstanding of the refugee story. A series of 15- and 30-second video vignettes have been created to illustrate the personal journey of refugees.

We have made these available as downloadable and editable PSAs and photos suitable for any resettlement service providers or other organization working with refugees to use and promote freely in their local outreach and educational efforts.

We are gratified that international organizations, such as the Vatican, and national and New York State based resettlement service agencies have contributed to the further distribution of the “See Their Story” free-use PSAs. Thank you to all who are interested in this conversation!

So many do not understand that refugee resettlement is not a choice. It is a matter of life or death for so many fleeing war, persecution, abuse, neglect, gang violence, trafficking sometimes without parents, children and family.

Refugees come scared, alone, tortured, with no other choice for survival. Yet so many Americans continue to live under the misconceptions that refugees pose a great risk to our country. America has long provided an intensive vetting process and safe haven to people from around the world in search of safety, freedom and opportunity.

Our feeling is that the real human stories of welcoming and integration of refugees told through “See Their Stories” make real the troubling, inspiring and at-times beautiful history of what, and who, a refugee is. Now more than ever, may our combined resources and dedication serve to bring clarity to this very important issue in our country, and in our world, and help those we serve find peace, safety and friendship.

Obaida, a former refugee from Afghanistan

Escaping as a girl with her mother and siblings from Afghanistan, Obaida shares her journey to resettle in the US. It took 3 weeks to dodge bombings and cross the border, and after 12 years in a refugee camp in Pakistan, during which time half of the children in the camp died, Obaida found life and happiness in the USA as she learned English and graduated early to attend college and become a social worker. Now a wife and a mother, Obaida gives back to the current refugees as they seek peace and the opportunity to resettle here in the US. "I am blessed"

Tek, from Bhutan

Growing up on a very successful farm with his family, Tek shares the story of his family fleeing ethnic cleansing in Bhutan. After 18 years in a refugee camp without electricity or roofing, Tek came to Upstate NY with $20. Now a case manager and social worker, with a wife and children of his own, Tek works hard to support his extended family so they can thrive. "I can very proudly say that I think my family is now in good shape....Please consider them...accept them...as your brothers and sisters."

Sadika, from Kuwait

Sadika shares her story as a stateless/Bedouin woman forced from Kuwait, leaving her children behind. After living her whole life without a country and without rights, Sadika has a dream to be free and to become a citizen of the US...and a doctor.

Samir, a translator from Iraq

From his days as an ESL teacher in Iraq, Samir tells his story of serving the US forces during Iraqi Freedom. He and his family became targets of Iraqi persecution, and they applied for a special visa. After the US vetting process, they were approved to come to NY with their two children. 3 years later, Samir is a businessman, and his wife is finishing college to become a teacher. They have bought their first home, and are proudly paying their taxes. They believe in giving back to others and helping to build community. "It was either take this risk, or stay there and die."

Fatuma, a young lady from Somalia

Sent from her mother to escape genocide in Somalia, Fatuma tells of her 15 year stay in a refugee camp with her sister. While her sister died in that camp, Fatuma came to the US with a dream to speak beautiful English, become a business lady and reunite one day with her mother.

Akil, a student from Iraq

From his days as a student in an Iraqi university, Akil shares his journey to resettle in Rochester, NY, including his imprisonment and torture, the murder of his fiance, and his escape to Syria before coming to the US 4 years later. "I knew 3 words: 'Yes, No and I love you.'"

Soe, from Burma

Soe tells of the difficult decision to leave family and friends to begin a free life in the US. Having been denied access to education while living as a refugee in Thailand, Soe is now working on a PhD in Global Gender Studies. Soe believes education is the way to escape poverty and gain freedom, and dreams of being a teacher.

Parwez, helper of the US in Afghanistan

After helping the US in our efforts against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, Parwez's life became unsafe, and possible attack and murder at their hands became very real. At 25, he was accepted to come to the US, but without his family. Less than a year later, he dreams of becoming a nurse, a US citizen, and to do good.

Abdullah, from Afghanistan

For 11 years, Abdullah witnessed daily bombings, attacks on people, and children not being safe to go to school. After being beaten in the street for wearing an American company badge, and seeing no future for himself and his family, he applied for refugee status and has come to America. He feels deeply grateful that his family is now safe, and his children can go to school.