Who We Are

RUSU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for global human rights with a focus on refugees forced to flee persecution, wars and tyrannical regimes.


What differentiates RUSU from other refugee affiliated human rights organizations is our focus on lifting refugee voices and documenting the stories of those fleeing persecution, wars, and tyrannical regimes. And we do this while calling out those who commit human rights violations and force their citizens to flee.

We consider our mission-essential today due to the growing population of the 65 million refugees worldwide, the 4 billion people who live under tyrannical regimes, the 35 million refugee children forced to flee, the 1 million children born as refugees, and the 4.3 million stateless people. Solutions to the world’s refugee crisis must be sought and to find solutions we must-have information. These documented stories will provide first-hand accounts of refugee experiences.


Letter from the Executive Director:

The world’s refugee crisis has taken center stage due to world conflict and the massive migration of people seeking safety and freedom. If we are to tackle any part of this growing issue, we must have first-hand information.

Stories matter to all of us. They have captured our curiosity for hundreds of years. They give us a lens into how we view ourselves in our interconnected world.

RUSU operates to lend a voice for those who fear persecution for themselves or loved ones back home, and as a platform for stories to be told firsthand and documented for use. This could be for war crimes committed by dictators, human rights abuses committed by tyrannical regimes, or archived stories that will provide a piece of history in the days and years ahead. 

We have been working behind the scenes for the last couple of years to help prepare to launch this unique and committed organization. During this time, I have personally been able to meet with refugees in Germany, Greece, and the United States who experienced harrowing journeys on the sea, drownings of their children and spouses, torture and imprisonment, community shaming and a fear that only can be imagined. I have met mothers and children traveling on their own with severe trauma and stories of escape by those only seeking safety and a better life for their families.

During this time a chapter in the book Human Rights on Turkey: Assaults on Human Dignity (Philosophy and Politics-Critical Explorations, 15) was published. My Chapter 19 is titled Trauma of Turkish Women and Children in an Era of Political Unrest and includes some vignettes taken from the interviews in Germany and Greece. I am currently working on a novel that weaves into the narrative many of these life-changing stories and I will soon be on the road again to give presentations in the United States and abroad to bring awareness, advocate for refugees, and tell the untold stories of human suffering.

I have been amazed to watch as refugees tell their stories and how that leads to empowerment and a newfound resilience. Isn’t that how it is with most of us? We are encouraged to talk about problems, sadness, and life’s traumatic events and when we do, we rebound, and a new journey of healing begins. We only become stronger.

Brene Brown’s quote I think says it best. “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through, and it will be someone else’s survival, guide.”

I believe every story matters and I am excited to see what RUSU accomplishes next.

Vonya Womack

Executive Director


Support Empowerment Projects

We develop youth refugee empowerment projects and partner with local NGOs on location, and corporate social responsibility programs to teach the craft of storytelling with video, audio, written, and social media platforms. We develop women’s projects that build resilience and empower women through storytelling and skill-building activities.