Honoring Remarkable Women
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, IRC Los Angeles is honoring senior staff member Amila Orucevic. Amila is the Resettlement Operations Officer and provides management oversight to programs serving newly arriving refugees. She also oversees immigration services. Amila has been on the staff of IRC since 1993, soon after she arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Bosnia.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work with the IRC?
It is no surprise that the most rewarding part of my job is being able to touch the lives of many refugees who came here in search of security and a brighter future. Seeing the faces of newly arrived refugees, learning about their lives and those of their children, brings back memories of my own life as a refugee and the experiences of my family members. Being able to help those we serve find dignity and respect that was previously denied to them, fills my heart with warmth. And these feelings are shared by everyone on the staff of IRC.
Do you have any special memories of the refugee women you have met during your time with the IRC?
The refugees we serve speak many different languages, embrace different religious, and are of different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Over the years I have met many women with remarkable personal histories such as Marafat from Afghanistan, Diana from Bosnia, Soussan from Iran, Hadiya from Iraq, Lubov from Ukraine, and Tenzin from Tibet. Whether they strive to improve educational opportunities and future possibilities for their children, or seek activities that bring them personal fulfillment and enrich the lives of others, they always inspire me. Refugee women are the backbone of their families, the strength of our community and this country.
Do you have any other comments to share about your work with the IRC?
I learned about IRC through a personal plight that forever changed my life but not my conviction that all human beings are born equal and our basic human rights must be defined only by our acts, not by our religion, ethnicity or race. IRC was there when I needed help the most, not just by offering me a job and the ability to support my family, but also by helping me regain my dignity as a human being and my ability to trust in humanity. Working with IRC is a rewarding way of giving back to the community.