Imagine fleeing war with your children, leaving everything you know behind.

Now, picture a new life starting to take shape, but a crucial piece missing: reliable transportation.  

This was Iryna's reality, until an unexpected jingle of keys unlocked more than just a car door, but a future filled with possibility. 

Her story is a powerful reminder of how the generosity of donors like you empowers resilient newcomers to thrive here in the U.S. Want to equip local refugees for success? Help collect items on our Amazon Wishlist here!

From Hardship to Opportunity 

When Iryna fled war-torn Ukraine with her three young children, she left behind everything she loved—including her husband, who remained to help defend their country. Still, she was determined to build a better life for her family. 

Thankfully, when she arrived in California, the IRC in Oakland was there to help her family navigate their new life. Our dedicated staff walked alongside them during their first months, helping  secure benefits and the healthcare they critically needed. 

Since Iryna did not speak English yet, we connected her with our partners at the City College of San Francisco for intensive English classes. Fueled by her own determination, Iryna embraced every lesson, gaining the confidence to navigate her new environment and pursue a brighter future. We also enrolled her children in school and found free after-school care, which eased the financial burden as we helped Iryna find full-time employment. 

Of course, affordable housing is the single biggest challenge facing newcomers in Northern California. That’s why our staff is working diligently to create new partnerships with local property owners and rental companies that can help provide stable housing for families like Iryna’s. Leveraging those relationships, we were able to find them a safe home, laying the foundation for a successful life in the U.S.  

Next, Iryna was focused on finding a full-time job to become self-reliant. She leveraged tools and resources from our employment team, including resume writing assistance and connections with our employment partners. 

Thanks to her own hard work and our ongoing support, Iryna landed an impressive full-time position with Johnson Controls, a promising career path with a salary in the lower 100Ks. This remarkable achievement created financial security and the opportunity to build a fulfilling life in the U.S.  

A Gift that Changed Everything 

Despite this incredible progress, a significant obstacle remained: Without reliable transportation, managing a demanding job and daily life became a significant challenge.  

This is where the story takes a heartwarming turn.Moved by the plight of the people of Ukraine, a generous man from Oakland offered to donate a car to Iryna. This incredible act of generosity was more than just a gift—it was a key that unlocked a world of opportunity. 

A Future Filled with Promise 

With reliable transportation, Iryna can commute to work, support and attend to her children, and fully embrace her new life. 

Her story is a reminder of the community of welcome needed for newcomers to thrive. While the IRC offers a safety net, our work is made possible by people like you: employers, landlords, educators, donors, volunteers, advocates, and so much more. 

With your support, refugees can build a brighter future for themselves and their families. Click here to help collect items on our Amazon Wishlist!