Afghanistan’s recent violence has driven many of its citizens to the U.S. Some have family here who take them in. Others, with no one, rely on the altruism and welcome of strangers. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff Gammage, with assistance from Oona Goodin-Smith, covered a Nationalities Service Center (NSC) case worker for whom this role resonates.
Romana Gordynsky of Quakertown is an NSC case manager, aiding its role as a local resource for immigrants and refugees worldwide. Gordynsky is part of its “welcome team,” workers who meet arrivals at the airport, day or night, and ease their transitions to this country.
Her first words, especially to the arriving Afghans escaping violence and unrest, are simple: “You are safe here. And you are welcome.”
For Gordynsky, the sight of citizens from another nation seeking safety in the U.S. echoes her own story.
She came to visit the U.S. in 1994, then applied for asylum, citing religious persecution in her homeland of Ukraine. She was without her parents and sisters for nine years.
Still, she built a life in America.
And now, given the situation in Afghanistan, she helps others in need of the same.
“People need attention. They need support,” Gordynsky said.
More on this empathetic Nationalities Service Center resource and the benevolent work she does is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.