By Sarah Novicoff; International Rescue Committee Journalism Intern
The child of refugees, Sundos Sharaf will soon be welcoming refugees to the United States as the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles’ newest Caseworker.
“I feel very blessed to have been raised here and receive an education and to not have to worry about conflicts going on around me,” Sharaf said. “I want to give back because I know it could have easily been me.”
Sharaf, whose parents were Palestinian refugees and whose mother’s family continues to flee Syria today, graduated from University of California Berkeley in June 2012 with a double major in Peace & Conflict Studies and Near Eastern Studies. While an undergraduate, Sharaf studied organizations working in conflict zones around the world, including the IRC.
“I noticed the IRC was always one of the organizations in assistance in areas of conflict,” Sharaf said. “I’ve always wanted to work with refugees because of my background and I had known about the work the IRC does around the world. I want to work for a company whose main focus is the people.”
After graduating from Berkeley, Sharaf moved back home to Southern California and worked on a California State Senate campaign for Assemblyman Jose Solorio. She conducted fundraising for the campaign, organized events and drafted press releases.
When the campaign ended, Sharaf accepted a position within the Orange County Social Services Agency and worked on a program granting funding to home caretakers for the elderly and disabled children. She conducted home visits and provided translations in Arabic and Spanish for caseworkers.
“When you show up and let them know that we can help you, and you give them a hug, it’s worth a lot, knowing that someone cares,” Sharaf said. “I’m really happy to see the people who made it here to the United States, and I’m looking forward to working with them and helping as much as I can.”