Your donation to ECE® Aid can have a meaningful impact on someone's life. Read the stories of people who have been helped by the generosity of others.
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) Story
"We so appreciate all that you've done for us so far. Providing this service for our clients is essential to helping them move forward with their careers and education here in the U.S. The opportunity to have their degrees and credentials evaluated means so much to our clients because, first, it is a validation of their skills and education in another country, and second, it gives them a path to a career in their field in the U.S."
- Aniko, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)
Disclaimer: Ali’s name has been changed to protect his identity.
Meet one of our recent ECE® Aid recipients, Ali, a chemical engineer from Iraq who simply loves his line of work.
After earning a bachelor’s degree Ali began working as a project engineer for the government of Iraq. But as the situation within Iraq worsened, he decided to move to the United Arab Emirates in 2006.
As his stay in the UAE continued to improve over time, Ali was able to use his degree and work experience to obtain a project manager position in Dubai. Ali was promoted yearly, had his first child, and began working towards a master’s degree in business administration.
However, in 2014 two major events occurred that would forever change Ali’s life and the path that he was on. First, Ali’s family grew with a second child who was unfortunately born with a rare medical condition. Coming to the U.S. would offer excellent medical treatment for Ali’s child. Second, a threat to his life occurred, making Ali’s departure to the U.S. that much more critical. It was time for Ali and his family to pick up their lives and move again, this time to the United States.
Unaware that credential evaluation was an option, Ali discovered that continuing your education as an international student in the U.S. can cost three times that of a resident. This was money Ali just did not have. His engineering career was soon replaced by multiple odd jobs so Ali could feed his family and tend to his child’s mounting medical bills.
Luckily, Upwardly Global discovered that Ali needed a little help in life, and an ECE evaluation was the first step towards helping Ali rebuild his career in the United States. Ali now has a “big hope that one day I can go back to my job and work as an engineer.”
As part of a minority group, Yasmeen along with her husband and two daughters decided they needed to leave Pakistan due to threats against them and safety concerns for their children. Their family fled their homeland and safely reached Sri Lanka. Yasmeen and her family patiently waited for almost four years after applying to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for asylum.
Finally, Yasmeen and her family were resettled in the United States and were assisted by Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM). Refugees are responsible for finding employment when they arrive in the United States, and Yasmeen wished to pursue a meaningful career. She had studied Political Science, while her husband had worked for an organization pursuing social justice, human rights advocacy, and cultivating peace. Case workers at LFSRM noticed Yasmeen’s academic degrees from Pakistan and awarded her an ECE® Aid fee waiver to help in searching for employment that would build on her education from her home country.
"After help from ECE I can improve my study and achieve my goal; I want to be a teacher in America. I am grateful for this opportunity."
Tarig O is from Khartoum, Sudan, and was born at the end of the first civil war into a big family - three sisters and six brothers. From a young age Tarig dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. One of his favorite quotes comes from Joel Barker, "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!" In high school Tarig was drawn to math, physics and chemistry. He developed a passion for technology and decided to go to college for engineering.
Tarig worked at night to pay for his college fees. He was going to college in the middle of the second Sudanese civil war and also helped to support his mother, father, and siblings. Eventually, he graduated from Sudan University of Science & Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Construction Management.
Upon graduation he started working for Mobile Telephone Network (MTN Sudan) as a Project Engineer and was soon promoted to Capital Project Supervisor. After 11 years Tarig still gets excited watching a project develop and progress.
On his quest to become an entrepreneur, Tarig decided it was best to leave Sudan. He imagined America would provide new opportunity within his field, and a more stable foundation not only for him, but also for his two daughters. Yet, since arriving to America, Tarig has struggled to find a job or any sort of work at all.
Determined to provide for his small family, Tarig contacted Upwardly Global, a trusted participating organization of ECE® Aid. They awarded Tarig with an ECE® Aid fee waiver, and he has just begun using his ECE evaluation to look for jobs in his profession.
“I recommend ECE for all people because they are so professional and committed to serving refugees and immigrants who have been educated in other countries. Thank you, ECE, for making my life easy in USA.”
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains Story
"In my role at LFS, I assist refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking obtain employment in the United States. When refugees first arrive to the United States, they are expected to start working right away. Often times, this work doesn't align with what they were doing previously, and there is a strong sentiment of "starting over" that they all feel. It is not uncommon to see people with advanced degrees from their countries of origin going to work in entry-level jobs in the United States (e.g. packaging, housekeeping, and meat-cutting).
When I first learned of ECE® Aid, I was eager to establish a connection. Most refugee clients that I work with are unable to afford the cost of transcript evaluation and thus, they get stuck working in these entry-level positions. Since establishing a relationship with ECE® Aid five months ago, I have seen six clients submit their transcripts for evaluation. Two of them held master's degrees in Teaching, one had her PhD in Civil Engineering, two held degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and one held a degree in Industrial Design. When receiving their results, I witnessed something amongst all of them - a sense of reclaimed dignity and social status, and they were all able to plan for their future again. ECE® Aid made this possible, and for that, they are all eternally grateful. As am I.
ECE® Aid is not just helping with transcript evaluations. It is so much more than that! They are helping people reclaim their dreams. I truly cannot thank ECE enough."
- Katy, Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountians
Rehab is from Damascus, Syria. She studied engineering for five years and graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical and Textile Engineering. She fled her war-torn country in 2015 looking for a safe place for her and her family to live. Once she arrived in America, Rehab enrolled in an English as a Second Language program (ESL). However, Rehab knew in order to find a better job she would have to figure out a way to use the degree she had already worked so hard to earn. Rehab soon discovered Upwardly Global, an organization that helps skilled immigrants and refugees rebuild their careers in the United States. Upwardly Global has been a participant of ECE® Aid since the beginning of the year. Rehab was awarded a fee waiver through Upwardly Global and received her completed credential evaluation soon after sending her educational documents to ECE. While she job hunts, Rehab has decided to utilize volunteering as her way to master the English language.
“I would like to thank you so much for the work that you've done to evaluate my degrees. I think this evaluation will be the big opportunity I need to advance my education and get a good job in the U.S.”
Nidal is an agricultural engineer from Syria, who hopes to use our evaluation report to pursue organic farming at Michigan State University.
"What's happening in Syria is a lot bigger than what I can describe. The city I'm from, Daraa, was the birthplace of the revolution, so that was one of the first places where things go very heated. I call it a revolution because what happened in Syria began exactly that way. I took my family and we fled for our lives."