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.

Donate Now


A map of the world showing countries where ECE Aid recipients are from in blue. Text reads: Providing fee waivers to displaced populations in over 45 countries.

Ahmad from AfghanistanECE Aid block quote: ECE is great to choose for your educational document evaluation from any country you have. Just sign up and submit your documents. -Ahmad

In 2006 Ahmad received his bachelor's degree from Kabul Polytechnic University, a renowned engineering school in Afghanistan. In the process of relocating from Afghanistan to Virginia, Ahmad thankfully made a point to keep all of his educational documents with him.

When Ahmad found out about the collaborative work of ECE® Aid and Lutheran Social Services this summer, he quickly completed our online application form and submitted his documents. Thanks to the ECE® Aid fee waiver and our expert staff, we completed and mailed the ECE® foreign evaluation report sooner than Ahmad expected!

"ECE is great to choose for your educational document evaluation from any country you have. Just sign up and submit you documents." - Ahmad B.

Yahya from Yemen

We would like to iPhoto of Yahya, ECE Aid recipient, and block quote: Hopefully in the near future I will start with my PhD.ntroduce you to Yahya from Yemen. He first arrived to the United States in 2017. Having teaching experience, Yahya immediately started working as a long-term substitute teacher.

However, with a master's degree in business administration from Malaysia and a bachelor's degree in English from Yemen, he yearned to become a licensed full-time teacher. Yahya partnered with Upwardly Global in April of 2018 and received his ECE® evaluation report at no cost to him.

"Currently, I am working to get a Michigan teacher's certificate. Hopefully in the near future I will start with my PhD." - Yahya A.

Elena from RussiaECE Aid block quote for Elena from Russia: We are relatively new in the country, and we are still learning to navigate our lives...getting my credentials evaluated for free made a big difference!

Elena, her husband, and their two daughters came to Oshkosh, WI, in December 2018 seeking ideological asylum. Elena is a qualified psychologist with a master's degree from Tver State Technical University in Russia.

"Thanks to ECE, I feel free to pursue my career goals. On the one hand, I am thinking of becoming a school counselor. But on the other hand, my passion in life is to work in the beauty industry. I would really love to look into obtaining a license for that, too. My current goal is to improve my English so that I am fully prepared to pursue my dreams. I am very grateful to ECE for the opportunity to be an ECE® Aid fee waiver recipient. It means so much to me and my family. We are relatively new in the country, and we are still learning to navigate our lives in a new environment, and as you know, it takes time to become financially stable. So getting my credentials evaluated for free made a big difference!" - Elena A.

Samiha and Batool, mother and daughter from Syria

ECE Aid block quote for Samiha and Batool from Syria: Thank you ECE for helping us make the dreams come true!Thanks to Winnebago County Literacy Council, we were able to work with Samiha and Batool, a mother and daughter who made the pivotal decision to come to the U.S. in 2016 from Syria.

Samiha is a qualified teacher, and her daughter is a student. Teaching is Samiha's passion and calling; she often dreamed of finding a job in the U.S. that would be in this field. Batool cherished the dream of continuing her college education in America. She was a student of art and design with an interior design major before being forced to leave Syria during her sophomore year in college.

After the family had settled in the U.S., their number one priority became pursuing their educational and employment goals. Samiha was actively interviewing, but the process of gathering the necessary documentation was tedious. For Samiha, there was no way to reach her educational establishment in Syria, and she knew without the proper credentials, finding her dream job was not possible.

Alternatively, Batool had all of her transcripts in place. But in order to apply to colleges and universities as a transfer student, she needed an evaluation report.

Thankfully, because of supporters like you and the relationship between ECE and Winnebago County Literacy Council, both Samiha and Batool received ECE® Aid fee waivers for their ECE® credential evaluations.

Samiha couldn't be happier. The professional ECE team came to help and took it into their hands to assist Samiha in acquiring the missing papers vital for the evaluation process. She received the evaluation report at the perfect time and was offered a position as a CLC classroom assistant with the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh.

Likewise, Batool was accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, to pursue her dream of becoming an Interior Designer.

"Thank you ECE for helping us make the dreams come true!" - Samiha and Batool

Winnebago County Literacy CouncilECE Aid block quote testimonial for Oxana Martynova-Perzentka from Winnebago County Literacy Council: Having their degrees recognized in the U.S. opens so many doors to new educational, job, and career opportunities.

"I cannot thank you enough for our ECE® Aid partnership that helps our program participants to eliminate a significant barrier on the way to success. For all newcomers, employment is a crucial factor in the process of integration into the American Society. And having their degrees recognized in the U.S. opens so many doors to new educational, job, and career opportunities."

- Oxana Martynova-Perzentka, Vocational Services Director, Winnebago County Literacy Council, Oshkosh, WI

Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

ECE Aid block quote testimonial for Will Kneerim from Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services: All our refugee clients have felt respected and empowered...it's hard to put a value on that."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), New Haven, CT

Hussein from IraqECE Aid block quote for Hussein from Iraq: I wish I will be a professor and help people.

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 PhD 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 PhD 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

Fouad's story

Fouad's jouECE Aid block quote for Fouad, ECE Aid recipient: After waiting so long and suffering so much, my goal now is to live quietly with my family...rney 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 NepalPhoto of Prashant, ECE Aid recipient from Nepal, and block quote: As an earthquake victim, ECE Aid played an important role in fulfilling my dream.

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 SECE Aid block quote for recipient from Syria: 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 life expenses.yria. 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.

Update

Back in 2017, we provided an ECE® Aid fee waiver to this gentleman from Syria who is now going through the rigorous process of getting licensed in the U.S. as a medical professional.

In addition to completing the National Board Dental Exams and language proficiency tests, he has applied to multiple universities. Each application comes with its own associated fees; however, because of the generosity of our donors, we have at least been able to waive the fee each time he orders a copy of the ECE® foreign credential evaluation report to be sent to a prospective university.

He is tenacious, and we have no doubt he will obtain his dream job! Two years ago, when we explained to him that ECE does not provide free reports directly to individuals, he decided to reach out to one of our trusted agencies himself. ECE selects experienced nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to distribute fee waiver vouchers to qualifying individuals. Refugees to College issued an ECE® Aid voucher to him, and he began the process of getting an evaluation.

We can't wait to get the update that he is practicing dentistry, and when we do, we will be sure to tell you all about it!

ECE® Aid recipient from AfghanistanECE Aid block quote for recipient from Afghanistan: I 100% believe this report will help me achieve my future goals.

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 ArECE Aid block quote for Arthur from Brazil: I came to the U.S. to reunite with my family and to restart my professional career.thur 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 ColombiaPhoto of Edith, ECE Aid recipient from Colombia, and block quote: Thanks to organizations like ECE and the people who work there, I have access to more opportunities...

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.

Photo of Anik, ECE Aid recipient from Nepal, and block quote: ECE played an important part in my application process and being accepted to my desired program, and I am thankful for that.Anik 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)ECE Aid block quote testimonial for Aniko from Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services: Providing this service for our clients is essential to helping them move forward with their careers and education here in the U.S.

"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 ECE Aid block quote for Ali from Iraq: A big hope that one day I can go back to my job and work as an engineer.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.”

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 (UNECE Aid block quote for Yasmeen from Pakistan: I want to be a teacher in America.HCR) 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. 

Photo of Tarig, ECE Aid recipient from Sudan, and block quote: I recommend ECE for all people because they are so professional and committed to serving refugees and immigrants.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.” – 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).ECE Aid block quote testimonial for Katy from Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains: They are helping people reclaim their dreams.

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

Photo of Rehab, ECE Aid recipient from Syria, and block quote: I think this evaluation will be the big opportunity I need.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.” - Rehab

Nidal from SyriaPhoto of Nidal and family, ECE Aid recipient from Syria, and block quote: I took my family and we fled for our lives.

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

top