Part of the RAIN mission is to share information about areas of conflict, resettlement and migration. With RAIN Voices, we will be posting stories and facts about refugees, resettlement and what you can do to stand up to the misinformation being spread. Read our stories. Learn with us. Share your story. Act. This is how we begin to Change the Narrative.

5 Things You Can Do to Take Action for Refugees

As the federal government makes enormous cuts to U.S. refugee admissions numbers and funding for refugee resettlement agencies (read our Director Kelsey’s rundown of the current state of affairs here), it’s time to mobilize and take action. Here are 5...

What You Need to Know about U.S. Refugee Resettlement Numbers

As the news of the presidential cap on U.S. refugee admissions for next year sets in and the low number of 30,000 ripples through the cycles, many are asking the obvious questions: What will be the impact on the agencies who resettle refugees, and will the...

Sexual violence against indigenous women in Ciudad Juárez

Ciudad Juárez is a striking example of both the good and the bad that the economic opportunities inherent to urbanization can bring. This city of nearly 1.5 million inhabitants is situated on the Mexico side of the border with the United States, directly opposite its...

IKEA 5000 Dreams Bed Project

The 5,000 Dreams for Refugees project was a grant given by IKEA’s National Foundation to RAIN International. RAIN was given a limited number of new bed and crib sets which include a bed frame, mattress, pillows, sheets and comforter to distribute to refugees in the...

Canada: misuse of indigenous symbols in costumes

In October 2015, Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour walked into a Halloween costume shop in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada with his sister and teenaged nieces. McNeil-Seymour, an instructor of social work at Thompson River University and a Tk’emlups Tee Secwepemc,...

World Refugee Day: Summer Reading List

Storytelling is what connects us to our humanity. It is what links us to our past, and provides a glimpse into our future. In honor of World Refugee Day, we’ve put together a reading list of books selected by RAIN’s Advisory Council. We hope our selections will help...

The refugee story is both tragic and hopeful

He arrived in the US from a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, where he was born when he was 10. 91 days later he was walking to the library with his father when a truck turned left and struck them both in the crosswalk. For months the little boy laid in the hospital...

Music and healing

Alone as a child, as both parents were killed in Burma, his only sister filed to have him join her in Tucson, AZ. When he was 17, he was approved. He arrived alone with only one small bag of belongings. Within a few months he was balancing work and school. His...

Iraqis who serve in the US Military

Many of his American friends call him Mo. Mo served as an Interpreter for the US military in Iraq. Like many individuals who choose to serve, his life and those of his family were put at risk. He was issued a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) along with 7,000 other Iraqis...

Remember this…

I love watching children explore new things; new sports, new books, new environments. These children were discovering hula-hoops for the first time. Children deserve this type of freedom. These little joys. Over 50% of the world's refugees are children. Remember...

Pink bunnies

Somali refugee children often have not known a life outside of a refugee camp unless another country accepts them in their borders. The children almost always understand that they have been given an opportunity if they are selected. They quickly learn to find that...

Is war a humanitarian act?

This week was stunning to us at RAIN. We have been in the field working with refugees for decades and no one really noticed or cared, or if they did they were either embarrassed because they were unsure who refugees were, annoyed that we aren't spending more time...

Changing the narrative: Words matter…part 4

Displaced Person Persons or groups of persons who have been forced to leave their homes due to violence, violations of human rights, armed conflict or natural or human-made disasters, Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Same definition as above but has not crossed a...

When respect is more important than money

Growing up in South Dakota, I wasn’t exactly exposed to a large ethnically diverse world.  Yet, as an adult I found my place inside a refugee resettlement agency.  I don’t think I was supposed to work out.  My older white male boss most likely hired me to run the...

Changing the narrative: Words matter…part 3

So what is an Asylum seeker then?  This one seems to really get people confused since refugee and asylee are used almost interchangeably. Asylum Seeker The definition of an asylum seeker is the same as a refugee, however - asylum seekers have not yet been granted...

Changing the narrative: Words matter….part 2

Who is a Migrant? Who is an Immigrant? These definitions are at the heart of the issue and are increasingly becoming used for political purposing. They are also just very confusing. If you ask US or Canadians what the word migrant means they will almost always say...

Changing the narrative: Words matter…part 1

Part of RAIN's core training program involves taking a close look at what the existing narrative is out there around immigration and then defining the terms appropriately.  Language is important.  This week we have been following several online discussions about the...

This time we want to talk about ourselves

Abdulazez Dukhan is one of those unique individuals who seems to build meaningful relationships with everyone he crosses paths with, and turn groups of strangers into groups of close friends. The happiness he exudes is infectious when he brings people together....

5 ways to support refugees right now

Feeling helpless and despondent these days?  Here's 5 easy ways you can support refugee and immigrant communities right now:   Watch accurate and inspiring documentary films about the refugee experience. Too often the refugee’s story is left untold in the...

The day my daughter wore a hijab to school

When my daughter was in second grade she received a gift from a Somali friend, it was a beautiful hijab and traditional Somali dress. She was so excited and wore it to school the next day. Although we lived in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in the middle of...

Longing for a place that no longer exists …Part 2

In a remote town in the Northwest of Guatemala, Nebaj, a point in the Ixil Triangle, I sat down an early morning to eat breakfast alone. I was served corn tortillas as is customary. I broke one in half and the steam filled me entirely. I was brought to tears by this...

Longing for a place that no longer exists …Part 1

Most folks involved in this kind of work have a connection to the experience of immigrants and refugees. For some of us it is lived experience. I have lived in this great nation for the past 25 years of my life. For the first 15 years I was not allowed to go back to...

Today I was laid off with nearly 400 of my colleagues

Dear friends, today I was laid off. For nearly seven years I have worked both domestically and internationally to resettle refugees to the United States. Most recently I have been working with the Resettlement Support Center (RSC) and United Nations Higher Commission...

Immigration Lexicon: This week’s dehumanizing term is…

"Illegals", "swarms," "aliens," "invaders."  Do these words drum up images of loving mamas and papas and brothers and sisters?  How about grandmas and grandpas?  How about a loving husband and engineer for Garmin who goes out with his friends after work in Kansas? The...

For my 39th birthday, this is what I ask of you

I have worked with a variety of people, from Vietnamese and Spanish-speaking domestic violence survivors to small business owners who lack access to capital and training. I've worked with agricultural migrant workers, folks from Latin American communities who speak...

In my family, “camp” is shorthand for “internment camp”

“I remember our parents telling our family that we had to leave our home within hours. We could only bring one small bag and everything else had to be left behind. We brought warm clothes and the only food we were allowed to bring was the formula for my baby brother....

The waiting game

As we wait through the weekend for the Executive Order to drop next week, let us not forget those who have been waiting in refugee camps for years – maybe their entire lives - for a chance at resettlement. Mae La Camp, Thailand - Established in 1984 and home to 50,000...

Feb 14 – I fell in love with that voice

My husband, Phil, is a refugee from Vietnam. He left with his mother and older brother in 1975 as Saigon was falling to the North. Staying in Vietnam was not an option as his father was a known sympathizer with the South. With two babies, age 9 months and 2, my...

The birth of RAIN International: From my perspective

My dad was a refugee. He was born in British-colonized India, and when the country was divided in 1947 along supposed religious lines, my dad was on the wrong side of the border for Hindus. He and his entire village left everything and fled for their lives, landing in...

Children need to hear these stories too

Reading stories about refugees and migration, of hope and survival, can have a profound impact on them, in both a real and an abstract sense.  We aren't saying this wistfully as people without children often do...we have kids and truly believe in the power of...

120 days in a refugee camp

Have you ever been out camping and it started raining in the middle of the night? Then you realized it was dripping inside your tent? I once walked 500 miles on the Appalachian trail and spent 2 of the worst nights of my life sleeping in wet tents on route.  As soon...

Why you shouldn’t stay silent anymore

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a...

Welcome to the Resistance

When your city’s leading Imam, Rabbi and Pastor are on stage (they were arm-in-arm at one point), in between the District Attorneys from the state’s largest and most diverse counties, followed by speeches from several police chiefs, leading politicians, district attorneys, the ACLU, 3 mayors, and multiple politicians, all saying they are working together to fight bigotry and support our refugee and immigrant communities…

What the orders actually mean for refugee programs

The US Refugee Resettlement program is suspended for 120 days, forbidding any use of federal funds to be used by states or contracted agencies; The number of refugees approved for resettlement this year has been halved; Resettlement of Syrian refugees are suspended...

Intro – It took us four days to get it together

We woke up on January 28th to our phones buzzing and our Facebook feeds exploding. We work in refugee resettlement and unaccompanied minor programs all over the US. We are directors, social workers, case managers, psychiatrists, mental health clinicians and our...

Detroit – rebuilding the city from the bottom up

Throughout the recent recession in the United States, the city of Detroit, Michigan was seen as a cautionary tale of economic boom and bust within the country’s urban centres. Nicknamed Motor City, USA, Detroit was the thriving epicentre of the automobile industry...

Arrest of one man does not address Thailand’s trafficking problem

As anyone who has spent any time in Thailand knows, children have worked on Bangkok’s Khaosan Road selling roses for years. Child migrants from Myanmar wander up and down this infamous backpacker hangout, selling flowers for 20 baht (around 65 US cents). On June 20...