top of page

October 15, 2015


an evening with 

Winnie Gacheru and

Riva Silverman 

from HIAS







Topic: Yearning to Breathe Free: Responding to Today’s Refugee Crisis


Issues: There are more refugees and displaced persons in the world today than at any time since World War II. Conflict and persecution is driving millions from their homes, leaving them stateless and vulnerable. Guided by Jewish values and history, HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. HIAS helps refugees rebuild their lives and advocates for policies that protect their basic human rights.


Ms. Gacheru will discuss HIAS’ work in Kenya and Uganda, particularly with victims of sexual and gender-based violence and others who have suffered from violent oppression. She will share stories of challenge and hope reflective of her experience working with some of the world's most vulnerable refugees. Ms. Silverman will share how HIAS responds to the needs of refugees domestically and internationally.


Presenters: Winnie Gacheru, HIAS-Kenya, and Riva Silverman, HIAS


For context and grounding – and not an absolute prerequisite for your attendance - please click the link below to find a selection of suggested informative topical materials to read and/or watch, generously curated by our expert panel.



suggested background materials


Participants: Click here for Suggested Actions and Further Information 


Winnie Mwihaki Gacheru is the director of psychosocial programs at HIAS Kenya, where she works to provide refugees with support to deal with the psychological and emotional effects of the traumatic experiences they have faced and helps them to restore dignity in their lives. A certified clinical traumatologist with expertise in early interventions, Ms. Gacheru has more than a decade of experience working with victims of gender-based violence and others who have suffered from violent oppression. She previously served as head of he psychosocial

program for HIAS Uganda, where she led a team of counselors and social workers serving refugees in Kampala. Prior to that, she worked with child survivors of sexual violence and exploitation as a counselor with International Justice Mission. She holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from United States International University-Africa in Nairobi and is currently pursuing her Doctorate Studies in Counseling Psychology at Kenyatta University in Kenya.

Riva Silverman is the vice president of external affairs at HIAS, where she promotes HIAS’ unique human rights mission by generating revenue and building awareness of the organization’s work around the world. Riva has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors, establishing and expanding diversified donor programs to promote human rights and religious freedom, largely through Jewish social justice organizations. Riva has a B.A. from Columbia University, a B.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

More on HIAS 

Persecution, conflict, and disasters have created more than 60 million refugees and other displaced people around the world. HIAS protects refugees—including women and children, and ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities—whose lives are in danger for being who they are. Guided by our Jewish values and history, we bring more than a century of expertise to our work with refugees— helping them take control and rebuild their lives in safety and freedom, and advocating for the protection and dignity of all refugees and displaced people. Visit to find out how you can play an important role in welcoming and protecting refugees.

bottom of page