At 4:00am I hear my phone vibrate. A message appears: “Hi, my teacher. Are you ok? Can I get food?” 

Last night I received a text from one of my English students. “Sorry to bother you, teacher. What does ‘capeesh’ mean? It’s not in the dictionary.”  

As soon as the doors open at the refugee center, people start streaming in, a barrage of needs and desperate requests: “I can’t get food coupons.” “Can I take English classes?” “I need clothing.” “The hospital won’t help me.” “I don’t have a place to live.” Each request is a reminder of the sheer numbers of refugees and the limited resources ...

The first day I met "Karla," she was sitting at a table in a class I was substituting. Her eyes were big and fearful of this strange American teacher who had just walked in.

We asked an IDEAS Associate, who recently began working with our refugee project in Cyprus, to share how serving refugees has transformed her life.