ECE® Aid Stories

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.

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Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

Will Kneerim ECE Aid testimonial"As I'm sure you're aware, you and ECE have been an enormous help to IRIS clients, and even a few refugees who did not come through IRIS. I wish there were an easy way to quantify the economic impact of your free credential program. Whatever the actual number, all our refugee clients have felt respected and empowered, and have increased their education and employment options thanks to ECE. It's hard to put a value on that."

-Will Kneerim, Director of Employment & Education Services, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

Hussein from IraqHussein ECE Aid Story

Hussein Al-Rubaya is a teacher from Iraq who hopes to become a professor in the U.S. When he first arrived, Hussein tried to pursue a master's degree in English linguistics but struggled to get admitted. His desired institutions in the U.S. did not understand his previous studies and transcripts from Iraq, and Hussein was starting to fear he would have to start his quest for a Ph.D. all over with undergraduate work.

Hussein found help with Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), a participant of ECE® Aid. Fortunately, IRIS understands the importance of what an academic credential evaluation can do for someone and the opportunities that can open up through an evaluation from ECE. IRIS awarded Hussein a fee waiver, and now with an ECE® Report, U.S. higher education admissions officers are able to better understand Hussein's bachelor's degree, credits, and grades in U.S. terms.

"My dream is to get the master's degree and then the Ph.D. in English linguistics and literature. I wish I will be a professor and help people. I really appreciate ECE evaluators for helping me out. Thank you very much." - Hussein Al-Rubaya

Fouad's story

Fouad's jouFouad ECE Aid storyrney to the United States has been a difficult one. At a young age he learned to take care of himself. This meant balancing a full-time job and his schoolwork. Taking care of himself also meant Fouad would have to flee to Egypt as civil war brought "terror and killing" to his village.

While in Egypt, Fouad worked hard to graduate from Cairo University with a bachelor's degree in accounting. His ambition to follow his dreams led Fouad through the long application process for refugee status. It would take many more years to complete the process; however, Fouad was finally able to make it to the U.S. and pursue his dreams. Luckily, the resettlement agency Fouad worked with contacted ECE for a fee waiver through the ECE® Aid initiative. After his long and arduous journey, Fouad can finally pursue his goals of working in his chosen career and settling into family life in the U.S.

"[The] ECE® evaluation will enable me to pursue further education in the U.S., so that I can finally begin my career as an accountant. After waiting so long and suffering so much, my goal now is to live quietly with my family, concentrating on my studies and my job and enjoying life in the U.S." - Fouad

Prashant from NepalPrashant ECE Aid story

Meet Prashant! He is a Nepali refugee who first relocated to India to study information technology. Owing to our generous donors and trusted participating institutions, like North Hennepin Community College, Prashant can now achieve his dreams in the U.S. for himself and his family.

"As earthquake victims, my family and I were facing many problems, more specifically financial problems. I thought my dream to continue my further study in the USA would not be fulfilled because of my non-U.S. degree. With the help of North Hennepin Community College, I was able to get an ECE® Aid fee waiver for a foreign credential evaluation report. I am really thankful to them for their kindness. ECE® Aid played an important role in fulfilling my dream!" - Prashant T.

ECE® Aid recipient from Syria

Part of the success of ECE® Aid is dependent on our trusted participating organizations and institutions. Please read about a recent recipient from Syria that contacted one of our ECE® Aid participants, Refugees to College, to receive a fee waiver:

"I am a dentist from SSyria ECE Aid Storyyria. I recently moved to the U.S. (in 2017) through the refugee program. My goal is to practice dentistry here in the U.S., so I started to go through the licensing process, which required me to have my credentials evaluated by ECE. I found out that refugees can apply for a fee waiver, so I went through the ECE® Aid webpage and found a list of nonprofit organizations that would facilitate issuing this waiver. The organization I contacted was Refugees to College. They were very nice and very helpful. I explained to them my situation and they were very eager to provide assistance. They contacted ECE on my behalf and a week later asked me to submit my application where they had arranged with ECE for my fee to be waived. I'm grateful for ECE® Aid for introducing me to Refugees to College, as they are still assisting me with other aspects of the licensing process beyond the ECE® application. I have since then received my ECE® evaluation report, and I'm getting ready to take the board exam. Getting licensed to practice dentistry is a long process that will take me about three years and will require various applications and fees for different agencies. It is a relief to get some of those costs waived, as it is difficult enough being a refugee to rebuild your life and to keep up with daily expenses, let alone the added expense of licensing application fees."

You can learn more about our participating organizations and institutions at ECE® Aid participating institutions.

ECE® Aid recipient from AfghanistanAfghanistan ECE Aid Story

We have now completed over 100 ECE® Aid evaluations, and we enjoy sharing stories from those who have been helped through the initiative. The lives of ECE® Aid recipients, like this civil engineer from Kabul, Afghanistan, are truly impacted by the ECE® Aid fee waiver, which would not be possible without your donations.

"So much thanking to ECE for completing and evaluating my degrees. I 100% believe this report will help me achieve my future goals. I would like to work for any civil engineering company and attend a PhD program part-time."

Arthur from Brazil

Please read about ArArthur ECE Aid storythur below and support immigrants and their families by making a contribution to ECE® Aid today!

“I have a pretty straightforward story. I came to the U.S. to reunite with my family and to restart my professional career after the company I was working for in Brazil decided to reduce the personnel as a result of the country's recession. I was working for them for 8.5 years, and I have a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering. I think it was important to get the ECE® evaluation to prove my education for either future employers or educational institutions. I was very glad that I was eligible for the ECE® Aid fee waiver and that ECE supports new immigrants with a service aimed to put us in the adequate place in the job market where we can best contribute and give back to this new community that is receiving us.” – Arthur

Edith from ColombiaEdith's ECE Aid Story

Edith M. began her higher education in Colombia at Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia:

“I arrived in the USA to complete my educational dreams after several years. Finally, now, I can say that I am doing more than just accomplishing my dreams. Thanks to organizations like ECE and the people who work there, I have access to more opportunities that help me to reduce time and money in my current degree program. It worked out for me after almost 10 years, it will work for you.” -Edith

Anik from Nepal

ECE® credential evaluations allow people educated in other countries to have their past academic achievements recognized when pursuing their goals in the U.S.

Anik's ECE Aid StoryAnik came to the U.S. from Nepal with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and a zeal for perfecting his skills at an American university. However, the price tag for an evaluation proved to be another barrier in the somewhat complicated university application process.

Luckily for Anik, the university he was applying to awarded him an ECE® Aid fee waiver. 

"The USA is one of the most developed and advanced nations in terms of research and innovation, and this is the result of a well-established education system. So it's a privilege to be part of the best education system one can get. Although the application process can be hectic, one of the hassles was converting my GPA to USA equivalent. ECE provided a major helping hand in this aspect. Not only did they have a straightforward system to evaluate my international transcript, but also with a click of a button they were able to send my official evaluation report electronically to the various universities where I was applying. And being from a developing country, there was less burden on me financially with the ECE® Aid fee waiver. ECE played an important part in my application process and being accepted to my desired program, and I am thankful for that." - Anik

Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)IRIS ECE Aid Testimonial

"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 Szabo, Early Employment Specialist, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

Ali from Iraq

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 Ali's ECE Aid Story Quotedegree 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.”

Yasmeen from Pakistan

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 (UNYasmeen's ECE Aid Story ImageHCR) for asylum. 

Finally, Yasmeen and her family were resettled in the United States and were assisted by Lutheran Family Services Rocky Moutains (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."

- Yasmeen

Tarig from Sudan

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's ECE Aid Story ImageTarig 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.” – Tarig O.

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

"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).Lutheran Family Services ECE Aid Testimonial

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 Mountains

Rehab from Syria

Rehab's ECE Aid Story ImageRehab 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.” - Rehab

Nidal from SyriaNidal's ECE Aid Story Image

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." - Nidal