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A happy ending
December 12, 2011 by Semir Tanovic
|The Tanovics in 1996, the year they arrived in the United States|
I was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I grew up there. I started a family there. But I became a refugee overnight.
After enduring years of war, my family and I had to leave our homeland when our city fell to Croatian troops. Had we stayed, there is no doubt we would have been killed.
With nowhere else to go, we learned the United States had offered us legal sanctuary. As we made that difficult journey to this new and strange country, we were bewildered and saddened that we could never return home.
But we were extremely fortunate to have the International Rescue Committee by our side. Not only did they help us apply for sanctuary in the States, but they also provided critical services once we arrived to help us get back on our feet.
During those tough first months, the IRC helped find and furnish our modest apartment, they supported my wife with the courses she needed to resume her medical practice here, and they helped orient us to life in America. With the IRC’s help, we eventually applied for and received permanent resident status and then U.S. citizenship.
Today, I work for the IRC and I see firsthand our efforts helping others. We continue to provide job training, English classes and job placement assistance, which are so important for new arrivals. And while the parents work, we help make sure their children go to school and attend after-school programs to ease the transition. I’ve also seen the IRC provide emergency housing assistance for those who have hit hard times and cannot afford rent.
Right now, your donation can go twice as far to help the IRC provide other refugee families like mine with critical services as they rebuild their lives in America. I urge you to support the IRC just as they supported me. On behalf of refugees everywhere, I thank you for your generosity.
Semir Tanovic is the director of the IRC’s Global Supply Chain. He is based in New York.
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