Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Los Angeles, CA, USA
I didn't even really know what a refugee was.
Like almost everyone else I know, I would see things on the news or overhear others talking, but I always stayed quiet when anything refugee was brought up.
I was 100% ignorant and really had no idea what was going on. My life circled around working out, building my photography business, and enjoying my time with friends and family.
Life was good, fair, and just. And I really had no reason to think it wasn’t this way for everyone.
One day, when out salsa dancing, two new friends had a couple questions for me. Knowing I was a photographer, they wanted some recommendations on cameras for a project they were working on.
Curious, I had to know more. After some back and forth I learned about HumanRefuge(e). Our founder Kimberli had already begun tutoring a refugee in English. Joanna, with her music teachers being refugees, had always both known and understood why people would need to seek refuge and all of the struggles it entails.
After talking to them both and learning not only what a refugee is, but more importantly WHY someone would need to seek this status, my life changed.
I knew I had to do my part to help.
Not directly knowing any refugees myself, I totally understand how so many don’t really have an opinion or know much about the situation besides what they see on the news or in the headlines. To many, the refugee crisis is just something we skim past in magazines or scroll right by as we go through Facebook.
But it’s so much more than that. The refugee crisis is a REALITY for millions of people in the world and we need to treat it that way. What if you or I were living that situation on a day to day basis? Would you want people to just scroll by, or would you want people to engage and realize what you are truly going through?
Luckily for me, i was able to learn so much about the world refugee crisis through Kim and Joanna. Instead of just seeing some images or text on a screen, they were able to tell me stories about what refugees and their families must go through, and I started to see things in a different light.
When hearing these stories, I was able to learn about this crisis in a way that I could easily understand and grasp. It allowed me to see and feel from another point of view, which had me imagining “What if this was my family and I?” “What if my family and I were forced to leave our home, our jobs, our friends, and our community, with only what we could carry on our backs?" “What if my family and I were forced to walked hundreds of miles or cross dangerous water in inflatable rafts, to immediately be turned back?" “What if my family and I were to go through all of the above and more, be lucky enough to finally seek refuge in a safe place, and THEN have this new community not be accepting and only see me as a ‘refugee’?"
And that’s what makes me so passionate about HumanRefuge(e). It helps people to ask these questions and see the refugee crisis through a different, more humanized point of view.
HumanRefuge(e) is here for everyone who doesn’t have a Kim or Joanna to give them first hand information about the Refugee Crisis. HumanRefuge(e) is here to share this information in an easily accessible and empathetic way that lets us see and understand what others are going through with our own two eyes. And HumanRefuge(e) is here to make a difference for those in need.
With HumanRefuge(e), we are able to interface with and help people all over the world. From working with our contributing writer’s/reporters throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and to helping the many people who reach out to us on a daily basis seeking refuge, advice, or aid, HumanRefuge(e) allows me to help make a difference in this world.
And for that I will forever be grateful.