IOM Ukraine is assisting in cultural orientation session for people enrolled in the United States Refugee Admission Programme. One of these sessions took place in July 2012 at the IOM office in Kyiv. The participants of interactive trainings are third-country nationals planning to move to the U.S. During the session they become acquainted with American traditions, legal rules, healthcare, the education system, etc. The knowledge received at the training should help them to become fully integrated members of the American society, able to take care of their health, safety and welfare.

Mahnaz is one of those assisted by IOM to take first steps in her new life in the United States. Originating from the Middle East, she faced troubles in her homeland because of her faith and family issues. The divorced Christian woman says the main thing she is expecting from moving to the U.S. is freedom: “It is like oxygen. You can’t live without it.”

Mahnaz says most of her thoughts are about her son, who is over 20 years old by now. He liked Ukraine but didn’t feel safe here. Being very cautious, he had friends only in the church the family belongs to. “He is studying English and reading a lot. I always buy him books as presents. As we say in our homeland: “The best friend after God and mother is a book.” The son of Mahnaz wishes to enroll in a university as soon as they arrive to the U.S., to study law or medicine.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities to work and study. In America if you want to do something you can find a way,” says Mahnaz, also appreciating the U.S. for being a multicultural country. “So many people from different nations are living there and nobody can say “Oh, you are a foreigner!”

“Many thanks to IOM, UNHCR, HIAS, Ukrainian charitable foundation “Rokada”. They are really working for refugees.” — Mahnaz, United States Refugee Admission Programme beneficiary

The IOM Constitution recognizes the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as the right of freedom of movement. In accordance with these principals, the U.S. Refugee Admission Programme (USRAP), funded by the Department of State / Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, is one of the largest continuing activities of IOM, currently operating in over 40 countries. Since 1996, IOM Ukraine has organized travel for over 62,000 persons in the framework of the USRAP, including cases of family reunification. Beneficiaries are referred to IOM by other organizations, mostly UNHCR.

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