Celebrate World Refugee Day and Women’s Resettlement Successes — Ivona Todorovic’s Story

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Ivona 300As we approach World Refugee Day, I’m proud to share one of the stories of women’s successful refugee resettlement that we’re collecting with our friends at Refugee Council USA! Please remember, as we near this important annual day of recognition on June 20, that former refugee leaders from across America will be visiting Capitol Hill as part of LIRS-organized delegations to lawmakers. They’ll be calling on Congress to ensure an even stronger refugee resettlement program through comprehensive immigration reform. They’ll also be honored at the Walk of Courage Award Dinner. LIRS offers many resources to everyone who’s looking for ways to speak out on World Refugee Day. For starters, please stand with refugees by raising your voice today through our Action Center!

Refugee Women Resettled in the United States

Name: Ivona Todorovic
Country of Origin: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Year of resettlement: 1995

Brief Story:

Ivona Todorovic was born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She lived with her father, mother, and sister peacefully in the beautiful city of Zenica. After graduating with an Elementary degree from the Academy of Pedagogy in Sarajevo in 1990, she worked as an elementary teacher until she fled her country due to the civil war in Bosnia.

In June of 1995, Ivona arrived with her husband Alex in Grand Forks, ND, her new home. Two months after her arrival, she began her new journey of fulfilling her life’s long dream of becoming a teacher and continuing where she was stopped by the sounds of bombs and sirens not allowing her do what she liked most-teaching.

The first two years were difficult for Ivona and her husband. They had to adjust to a new life in America. They worked many different jobs to support themselves and their soon to be born son-Daniel. Their goal was to become self-sufficient as soon as possible and then go back to college to continue fulfilling their dreams. Luckily, Ivona’s tireless passion for teaching landed her a job at a local elementary school. Ivona spent 8 years as a Title I paraprofessional at Lake Agassiz Elementary School. All of her teacher colleagues encouraged her to go back and earn her teaching certificate, which would allow her to fulfill her dream of teaching once again.

In 2003, Ivona graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education and became a Graduate Resident Teacher, teaching second grade at Phoenix Elementary. Upon her receiving her Masters in Education with an emphasis in reading, she started on her new teaching journey-teaching ELL students. Since 2005, Ivona has been working with the ELLs at many different grade levels and recently her ELL concentration has been teaching high school ELLs at the local magnet ELL high school. She loves teaching young men and women who are like her, trying to start a new life in America and are eager to better their life with education. Presently, Ivona is helping her son, Daniel, who is a junior in high school to make his dream come true by applying to various colleges in the region with a goal to one day be a member of Doctors Without Borders.

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