The recent events in Eastern Europe weigh heavy on all our hearts. We grieve with the people of Ukraine who have lost so much, and the people of Russia, as many must now also flee their homeland.

RAIS has been serving Ukrainian refugees for more than 40 years, and we continue to help Ukrainian families start new lives in Alaska. Our entire agency has watched with horror and heartbreak as we witness the needless loss of life and home for our neighbors across the world.

Because of how recently this conflict in Ukraine unfolded, there are not yet any new arrivals here in Alaska who are fleeing the current crisis. However, we do anticipate an influx of new arrivals from Ukraine and Russia, where many flee for political reasons, in as little as 6 months and possibly for the next several years. The RAIS team is also working with our current Ukrainian and Russian clients to help guide them through process of bringing any friends and family here to Alaska through the resettlement process.

The crisis we’re witnessing is heartbreaking and horrifying. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected. We grieve with our global community and our many staff members from this region. We also grieve for the more than 82 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced from their homeland, including many members of our staff. These numbers are hard to comprehend, as is the devastation of losing access to your own home.

We are thankful for everyone currently looking for ways to help. That is an admirable and generous response in these dark times. If you are interested in helping during this time of need, we encourage you to support verified organizations who are working in Ukraine to aid those fleeing. Locally, we encourage you to support the Alaskan Ukrainian community. 

We will continue to pray for Ukraine, Russia, and all Eastern Europe.  We pray that soon they may find peace and our world will one day no longer experience the heartache and horrors of conflict and displacement.

About Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS):

RAIS provides a bridge for refugees from their former life experiences to the new skills required for success in the United States. Since September, RAIS has been aiding evacuees of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan with the help of our generous community. During FY2021:

• RAIS provided services to 460 clients.

• 50 clients were assisted in securing employment with an average starting wage of $13.78.

By providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive case management to assist our clients in learning about the U.S., RAIS seeks to encourage self-sufficiency through early employment. You can learn more about the 300+ clients currently enrolled in RAIS here or listen here to one client’s personal journey of transition, success, and lasting friendship.

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