Study abroad experience leads alum to found nonprofit serving persecuted refugees
While a student at Baylor, Christopher Woodruff, BA ’09, traveled to Thailand through a study-abroad program where he taught English. There, he met a young man who had fled his home country, only to again be persecuted for his beliefs there in Thailand. Woodruff and another friend, Michael Hoyt, worked together to help the man and his wife.
Even after leaving Thailand, Woodruff’s heart remained with those like the young man he had met. Together with Hoyt, Woodruff founded Life Raft International in June 2011, The organization aims “to feed, shelter and protect people who have escaped persecution in their home countries only to face it anew in the country where they hoped to find refuge,” and recently received 501(c)(3) status.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and is intrinsically linked to Baylor since the university provided me the opportunity to go to Thailand and teach English,” says Woodruff, who currently runs LRI and is also a part-time law student. “It was in Thailand that my eyes were opened to the refugee crisis in Bangkok.”
The long-term commitment from Woodruff and Hoyt is evident in the organization’s vision and values. Though the primary work of LRI is feeding and providing shelter for re-persecuted families, there are also a number of additional opportunities on the horizon. You can keep up with the work of LRI by reading their blog; to learn how you can help with their efforts, click here.
Sic ’em, Life Raft International!