lisa rayman

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." - Maya Angelou

31 Sparks
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Hong Kong

May 10, 2019


I'm approaching my half century milestone birthday this June!!   

I've been so blessed and fortunate in my lifetime that I wanted to celebrate my 50th by honoring and giving back to a community of people who have touched and energized my soul.  I had the privilege to meet and photograph several wonderful refugees through Centre For Refugees Hong Kong (Christian Action) this past January.  I met some amazingly inspiring individuals, each with their own incredible story of perserverence and survival.   Their indomitable spirit, their fierce determination to flee persecution from their homeland in search of a better life, has made me appreciate my own personal family history and story of survival.  

My mom was born in Poland in 1944 during WWII.  

Because her family was Jewish they had to hide their real identities for survival. My mother was baptized in a Catholic Church and lived her young life as Wanda Grazyna Kielkiewicz (to this day she still goes by Wendy). Her Jewish family went to church on Sundays and celebrated all the Christian holidays. She and her family (6 of them in all) had to move around from town to town running from the nazis and changing their identities to ensure they weren't discovered.  With the help of several compassionate, brave Polish Christian families, they managed to "hide in plain site" living as Christians, for a number of years before the end of the war.

In 1945, they made their way as refugees to a DP camp in Germany where they lived for about 8 months. They then made their way to France and managed to cross the border illegally without any entry permits. They lived in Paris for about 6 months before being sponsored by a kind and generous Australian Jewish family which enabled them to emigrate to Australia. 

Australia didn't close its doors to European immigrants but America had closed its doors by invoking very strict quotas in 1921 and refused to relax the quotas to allow in refugees trying to escape death by the Nazi regime.

My mom and her family were refugees.  They didn't speak the language, they weren't part of the culture, they didn't have any money, any jobs, any belongings and their entire extended family was gassed, shot, starved to death-- all slaughtered by the Nazis.  

Refugees are not "bad people" looking to scam a new country into giving them welfare and sympathy.  They are people who happen to be persecuted for their beliefs or religion or color of their skin.   They are fleeing their homes, their families and leaving everything they've ever known behind for the hope and promise of a safe place to exist and live. 

In honor of my mother, and the amazing people I met at CFR, I am raising money for my 50th birthday for Centre for Refugees Hong Kong (Christian Action), the first and only community centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong.  

I am attempting to raise $50,000 HKD (equal to $6,410USD) in 42 days in time for World Refugee Day June 20, 2019.  I realize this is an ambitious sum, but in the scheme of Centre For Refugees, this amount will cover only one month of meals for the refugees and people in the community they serve!   Please join me in celebrating my 50th birthday, by donating to this worthy cause and helping me to reach my goal.  Thank you so much! 




lisa rayman

on May 10, 2019 06:52 PM

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“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.”

— Tennessee Office for Refugees

lisa rayman

on May 10, 2019 06:48 PM

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a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
"tens of thousands of refugees fled their homes"
synonyms: displaced person, DP, escapee, fugitive, asylum seeker, runaway, exile, émigré, stateless person, outcast, returnee; informalreffo
"she had fled to England as a refugee"

lisa rayman

on May 10, 2019 06:46 PM

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This is the face of a refugee. My mom was born in 1944 in Poland and lived her first few years on the run, as a Jew, trying to escape the Nazis. She and her family hid in plain site, living as Christians, and with the help of many generous, brave Polish Christian families finally made their way out of Europe and emigrated to Australia, as refugees. In honor of my beautiful mother, and her story of survival, which is now MY story of survival, I aim to raise $50,000HKD to support all those refugees coming to these Hong Kong shores in search of a better life.

lisa rayman

on May 10, 2019 06:42 PM

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So I'm turning 50 on June 5! I hope to raise $50,000 HKD ($6410USD) in 42 days to help Centre For Refugees Hong Kong (Christian Action) Please help me to meet my ambitious--but very necessary goal. $45,000 HKD will help pay for the cost to serve 100 meals to refugees and those in need in the community, for one month at CFR, plus $5,000 will help provide support for one child and their school supplies needs (clothing (uniforms), shoes, stationery, school bags, activity fees, healthy lunches, administrative fees, and other costs associated with their learning)

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