As a former refugee and a current refugee activist, I am committed to helping refugees around the world through storytelling. 2020 will mark the 10th year since I came to the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq. Since then, I have worked with and for refugee communities across the nation. Now, as I start my own nonprofit organization, I am asking you to support my work.
Through my nonprofit, WeaveTales, I am collecting and sharing the experiences of refugees to fight growing nationalism, extremism, domestic terrorism, and politics based on hate, which all create divisions in the time for unity. I am also using storytelling from countries in political turmoil to raise awareness of oppression and deprivation of freedom of the press around the world to build peace so that refugees outside their countries could finally go back to their safe homeland without fear.
HOWEVER, WE CANNOT DO THIS ALONE AND NEED YOUR HELP.
As a nonprofit launched in 2019, we are short of resources and cannot complete any of these projects without your support. Through your donation, WeaveTales will be able to support our current storytelling projects in the U.S., Italy, refugee camps, and the Middle East. As we face this important juncture of saving the lives of millions of fellow mankind, I sincerely hope that you could support my cause in this time of giving.
I WAS A REFUGEE. My husband and I were on the brink of being unfairly persecuted in Iraq simply because of our involvement with the American military forces. We loved our home country, Iraq, and had a passion for our work. We were faithful, law-abiding, and hard-working citizens who wanted a normal life in a safe environment. However, my family was given death threats and had to survive multiple bombings just because of our connection with the U.S. in a war-torn Iraq. We desperately sought refuge even though it meant that we had to leave our families behind in the country that we truly loved. After two years of the application process, we were finally resettled in the U.S. in 2010.
Despite the long draining application process and hardship that I faced as a refugee, new immigrant, and a Muslim woman in the U.S., I still gratefully consider myself to be one of the few lucky ones to have been able to come to the U.S. as a refugee. In most cases, refugees eagerly wait for their resettlement applications to be processed for decades, only to take their last breath in refugee camps. Some of us do not even get to see the light of day outside the camp throughout life. Having been born and raised entirely in the camp, these refugees are accustomed to the limited scope of life allowed within the camp boundaries where they are refrained from traveling freely, getting a job, and befriending neighbors because of the high level of security and control in most cases. Even when they are invited for a highly selective interview for resettlement (which happens to only less than 1% of all refugees), they become easy targets for scams and fraudulent activities that somehow steal their applications for other families because of rampant corruption.
Some take it upon themselves and try to make it by crossing the sea and pay a lifetime worth of savings to brokers to hop on a boat because they have no other options. Unfortunately, many of them die at sea. The number of migrants and asylum-seekers who went missing or were found dead peaked in 2016 when it reached 7,459. The number has gone down to 3,098 in 2019 but that doesn’t mean that the situation has improved. As refugees, we experience severe trauma from persecution, hopeless flight, and unforeseen displacement that even many of us who make it to a third country for asylum commit suicide and easily lose grip on reality.
AS MANKIND, WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.
As a former refugee and a current refugee activist, I am here to bring changes that could help these refugees whose lives have been unfairly destroyed and in desperate need of a second chance to lead a safe and humane life. I believe in the power of telling the stories of 70.3 million globally displaced persons around the world to lead the changes.
By next year, I will be getting the stories of refugees in the U.S. and Italy -- the key countries that receive and process the applications of millions of refugees and asylum seekers every year -- to share how the closing of their national borders has decimated the lives of refugees who have since been encamped or become homeless, jobless, and penniless, and most importantly, hopeless. I am also getting the stories of female refugees worldwide, the stories of Arab protestors from the Middle East, and the stories of Syrian refugees in camps to inform the public of the actual situations of displacement in their own voices and not in the processed words and expressions of the media.
$25 will support a refugee participating in one interview
$50 will support two refugees participating in interviews
$100 will purchase a tripod for camcorder
$200 will support 8 refugees participating in interviews, preserve and archive collected interviews for a year OR purchase a microphone for audio recording
$500 will purchase essential equipment (camcorder, tripod, and microphone)
$1000 will purchase a camcorder, tripod, and a microphone OR pay for rental and expenses to hold an interactive exhibit featuring the stories of refugees in one city excluding travel costs
$5000+ will support one or more whole storytelling projects that collect about 10 interviews with refugees per project and pay for all expenses for personnel and equipment