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20 years of service

Our very own Borka Paponjak recently celebrated 20 years of service with the IRC! During these years, she has welcomed and assisted thousands of refugees in the Seattle area.

Borka began her work with the IRC as a caseworker after arriving in the U.S. as a refugee herself from Bosnia. She was an accomplished teacher of English literature before coming to Seattle and embarking on her career with the IRC. She now manages both the IRC in Seattle’s resettlement and immigration programs.

One of Borka’s favorite aspects of her work is helping families reunite. “Nothing can compare to the joy when their family members arrive,” she says. Borka remembers one Haitian aslyee who she helped reunite with her three children. It took one and a half years. After finally arriving in the US, their mother brought them to IRC dressed in their best to give Borka big hugs. It’s moments like these that have inspired Borka to build a second career helping refugee and immigrant families.

Thank you for your 20 years of service, Borka!