A replica of the Statue of Liberty in Utica, New York.

Lending a Hand & A Sense of Belonging

New York State has a number of organizations willing to lend a helping hand to refugees.
Lending a Hand & Sense of Belonging
Their Stories
Lending a Hand


New York State has a number of organizations willing to lend a helping hand to refugees and provide a welcoming environment for them and their families.


Official Statement from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Bureau of Refugee Services:

“The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Bureau of Refugee Services oversees programs that assist Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who come to the U.S. as refugees, notably a large number from Burma and Bhutan. Since 2001, New York has resettled approximately 15,600 individuals from Burma and approximately 7,500 individuals from Bhutan. AAPI refugees have continued to be important contributors to many communities across the state, helping to revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate local economies, while making new lives for themselves and their families.”


Top photo: Statue of Liberty, Memorial Park, Utica, NY


Read More of Their Stories→

Abdul Rahim Rahim

“We did not know how we would start our new life. We received help from Rochester-based Keeping Our Promise Inc. Our lives forever changed. KOP was able to get a flight for us to come to Rochester. At the airport, the KOP director Ms. Ellen Smith greeted us as if we were her own family members. Volunteers placed us in a well-furnished house.”
Photograph of Abdul Rahim Rahim and family.


“As soon as we arrived at the Rochester airport, we saw a group of people holding a sign with our names on it and welcoming us to our chosen home. Despite the pain of leaving our country behind and the nerve-racking thought of starting a new life, we knew one thing at that moment and that was that we weren’t alone.”
Photograph of Maryam.
Their Stories
A Sense of Belonging
Julie Azuma

I didn’t know many in my community until I became involved in seeking Redress/Reparations for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.  We succeeded in receiving an apology and reparations in 1988.  The growth of the Japanese American community since that time has given us all a sense of belonging. – Julie Azuma



“We are always looking for acceptance, we came here looking for acceptance… We wish that people could accept us the way we are, the way we look, the way we sound, the way we dress.” – Bijaya Khadka, Chair of the New American Advisory Council

Bijaya Khadka’s quote comes from the article he submitted as his story: Gino Fanelli’s “Bijaya Khadka builds the America he dreamed of as a refugee” in The City News, April 30, 2021.

Anonymous entries submitted by Asian American Student Advocacy Project Youth Leaders:

“I hope to continue to build more dialogue and advocate for our community. Prior to joining [the Asian American Student Advocacy Project], I did not know what being an AAPI youth meant.”

“My parents are immigrants, but I was born here. Although we all fall under the AAPI category, we have different experiences and I want to understand those differences. I want to create meaningful changes so that all youth – especially AAPI youth – will feel safe and seen.”

“At first, I had no idea what it meant to be American or what it meant to be Asian American. In a diverse place like New York, I believe it is crucial for people to learn about each other with an open mind.”