Who We Serve
Since 1982, RefugeeOne has welcomed more than 20,000 refugees from every major world crisis, including Cambodian survivors of the infamous killing fields, Rwandans and Bosnians fleeing genocide, Iranians forced out by the Islamic Revolution, and Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war. In 2005, RefugeeOne even played a role in providing assistance for Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, we have worked to resettle Afghan refugees and helped Ukrainian refugees displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Learn about some of the populations currently being resettled by RefugeeOne below.
Learn about some of the populations currently being resettled by RefugeeOne below.
For many centuries, Afghanistan was caught between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from British control in 1919. Then in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded to support a tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by anti-communist mujahidin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, which tentatively ended the country’s civil wars but brought harsh rule by the new regime. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban.
Following a U.S. drawdown of all of its troops, a Taliban offensive quickly overran the country, including Kabul in August, 2021. The rapid advance resulted in a catastrophic flood of people seeking to flee to safety. Many of the individuals in need of protection had worked alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Others included women and children, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ individuals, activists, and humanitarian workers. In August 2021, the US government organized the Kabul Airlift, one of the largest airborne evacuations in history, evacuating more than 100,000 Afghans in a matter of weeks. Most now reside in the U.S. with temporary status.
Population: 38,346,720 (2022 est.)
Religions: Muslim 99.7% (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%), other <0.3%
Languages: Dari (official, lingua franca) 77%, Pashto (official) 48%, Uzbeki 11%, English 6%, Turkmani 3%, Urdu 3%, Pachaie 1%, Nuristani 1%, Arabic 1%, Balochi 1%, other <1%
There has been conflict between the government and ethnic-based groups seeking greater autonomy in Burma for more than 50 years. The government has been criticized by the international community for human rights violations. The majority of refugees from Burma fled to Thailand between 1995 and 1997 after a series of military offensives by a government group (State Peace and Development Council) against opposition movements.
Note: In 1988, the council changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar. The United States and much of the rest of the world do not recognize the name Myanmar because of its oppressive implications for the people of Burma.
Population: 57,526,449 (2022 est.)
Religions: 52% Christian, 30% Buddhist, 11% Muslim, 7% Animists
Languages: Many people are multilingual: 68% S’gaw Karen, 9% East Pwo Karen, 4% western Pwo Karen, 15% Karenni, 20% Burmese, 2% English
Countries of Refuge: Thailand (majority), Malaysia and Bangladesh
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The 1994 Rwanda genocide bled into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after genocidieres and survivors of the conflict took refuge there. This aggression escalated into the First Congo War when Rwanda invaded DRC in search of the perpetrators. The Second Congo War, the deadliest conflict since World War II, followed in 1998. Though a peace accord was signed in 2003, turmoil over control of the government and natural resources still plagues the country. At the end of 2013, 2.6 million people of Congo were internally displaced and more than 460,000 had crossed international borders in hope of refuge.
Population: 108,407,721 (2022 est.)
Religions: 95% Christian, 4% Muslim
Languages: French (official), but multilingualism is common: 37% speak Kinyarwanda, 32% Kiswahili, and 29% English
Countries of Refuge: Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi.
Tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia have been high since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 following a 30-year war. In 1998, a border dispute sparked a 2-year conflict in which Ethiopia captured a third of Eritrea’s desert and forced a million to flee their homes. It is estimated that every Eritrean has lost two to three family members in the conflicts with Ethiopia. By 2000, a third of Eritrea’s population had been displaced, and though the war with Ethiopia is over, lingering tensions and the continued presence of land mines makes returning home impossible for many.
Population: 6,209,262 (2022 est.)
Religions: 50% Sunni Muslim, 40% Orthodox Christian, 5% Eastern Rite and Roman Catholic, 2% Evangelical Church of Eritrea, 3% other
Languages: Arabic and Tigrinya; Tigre, Afar, Amharic, Kunama, and other ethnic group languages
Countries of Refuge: Sudan and Ethiopia
Iraq has spent decades in political and social turmoil, and the reasons that people leave the country are varied. Religion-based strife affects many, whether they are Sunni or Shi’a Muslims or members of a religious and/or ethnic minority (including Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Sabaean-Mandaeans, and Yazidis). Professionals and female heads of household are often singled out for persecution, as are minority Assyrians and Chaldeans. Those who are thought to have collaborated with the American military are also vulnerable to attack. Today, more than 4 million Iraqis seek a safe place to live.
Population: 40,462,701 (2022 est.)
Religions: 97% Muslim (60% Shi’a Arab; 20% Sunni Arab; 17% Sunni Kurd); 3% Christian
Languages: 97% speak Arabic; Kurdish, Assyrian, Turkish, and Armenian also spoken
Countries of Refuge: Syria and Jordan (majority); Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey
In 1991, the Somali government collapsed. Civil war broke out because of clan competition for power and the desire to settle old scores. This had disastrous effects on the civilian population. Armed bandits, who looted warehouses and food shipments, aggravated problems of food distribution. In the absence of an accepted government, power and food were in the hands of those with guns, and in a country that had been the recipient of much foreign military aid, there was no shortage of arms. The conflict continues to this day. At least 45% of the population has been displaced or fled the country since 1991, and several hundred thousand Somalis have died from violence, disease, and famine.
Population: 12,386,248 (2022 est.)
Languages: Somali; some speak Arabic and the educated can speak either English or Italian
Countries of Refuge: Neighboring East African and Middle Eastern countries
SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN
Sudan has been ravaged by decades of civil war, sparked by ethnic tensions and disputes over territory and natural resources. After years of conflict, in 2011, the country was split into Sudan and South Sudan, but fighting between North and South rebel armies and the North’s Government forces continues. Fighting over land and oil rich territories has displaced over 1.5 million people and caused over 500,000 to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Even though some have returned to Sudan, conflicts between both countries continue to cause their people to live in fear.
Population: Sudan 47,958,856 (2022 est.) South Sudan: 11,544,905 (2022 est.)
Religions: 97% Muslim; 3% follow either animist and indigenous beliefs or Christianity
Languages: Arabic, Nubian, Fur and Beja
Countries of Refuge: Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, when the government brutally cracked down on non-violent civilian uprisings. By 2014, Syria was the number one source country of refugees worldwide. Just two years earlier, Syria was not even in the top 30 refugee source countries, showing just how rapidly the situation has deteriorated. By April 2015, the UN estimated that nearly 9.5 million Syrian people had been displaced, which is more than 40% of the country's pre-war population. Almost 4 million Syrians have registered as refugees.
Population: 21,563,800 (2022 est.)
Religions: 64% Sunni Muslim, 21% Shia Muslim, 15% Christian
Languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian, Azeri, Assyrian, Turkish
Countries of Refuge: Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon. Such high numbers of people have fled the country that Syrian refugees currently make up 20% of Lebanon's population.
In 1991 Ukraine gained independence from the crumbling Soviet Union and established an independent, democratic state. Following popular protests in Ukraine which ousted a Pro-Russian president in 2014, Ukraine was invaded by Russia, its neighbor to the east. Russia annexed Crimea and occupied a portion of the eastern territories of Donestk and Luhansk, which settled into a prolonged conflict. On Feb 24, 2022 Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine on several fronts, resulting in the largest war in Europe since World War II. The war has caused civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance. According to the UNHCR, more than 5.6 million Ukrainians have become refugees since Feb 24, 2022 and more than 7.1 Million Ukrainians have been internally displaced.
Population: 43,528,136 (2022 est.)
Religions: 81.9% Christian (Orthodox, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant) Muslim 2% , Jewish 0.2%, Other 5.9% .
Languages: Ukrainian (official) 67.5%, Russian (regional language) 29.6%, Other (includes Crimean Tatar, Moldovan, Romanian, and Hungarian-speaking minorities) 2.9%