Adwa graduates from Emma's Torch

We're pleased to announce that Adwa recently graduated from a culinary training program at Emma's Torch! A young woman from Saudi Arabia, we met Adwa and her sister Latifah (one of our Urban Farm Recovery Project Fellows this season!) last year. This summer, we referred her to Emma's Torch. 

The culinary program at Emma's Torch provided Adwa with an opportunity to ready herself for working in a fast-paced New York City kitchen. Thanks to their support, Adwa has already landed a job at The Dutch, a popular restaurant in Soho! 

We are so proud of her for following her passion for cooking and completing the Emma's Torch program!

A family will soon be whole again.

We are overjoyed to announce that Yaya was recently granted asylum! A civil rights leader in Guinea, Yaya first visited the United States when he was invited by the Obama administration to participate in a conference on transparency in democracy.

In 2014, Yaya became one of our Urban Farm Recovery Project Fellows– we'll never forget the smile on his face the first time he laid his eyes on the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm! Since then, Yaya has presented at RIF meetings to help inspire others to remain hopeful during the long and difficult asylum process. Last year, Yaya volunteered for the Clinton campaign and remained an active participant in US democracy. 

Tragically, when he fled Guinea, Yaya was forced to separate from his wife who was pregnant with his unborn child. To date, Yaya has yet to meet his first and only son. Having now been granted asylum, Yaya will finally be able to reunite with his wife and son here in the United States. We couldn't be happier for him and we look forward to his family being whole again soon.

Two Nigerian Activists, Audu & David, Win Their Asylum!

We're proud to announce that after many years of waiting, Audu and David have won their asylum. Both public health advocates from Nigeria, we met David and Audu in 2014 when they fled Nigeria due to the passing of a homophobic law which criminalized those who advocate for the rights of the LGBT community.  In 2015, David and Audu joined our Urban Farm Recovery Project and the Brooklyn Grange Farm-ily. Later that year, thanks in part to our partnership with Fordham's International Institute of Humanitarian Affairs, Audu completed an International Diploma in Humanitarian Affairs course.

Despite all the difficulties they have faced, Audu and David have stopped at nothing to get back to the hard work of advocacy here in the United States. Audu is now a Community Organizer at African Communities Together, and David works for Housing Works. Audu is our most recent addition to the RIF Board.

We couldn't be more proud of these two and we wish them the very best!

Two RIF Members are moving on up!

We're excited to share that two RIF Members have recently secured promising opportunities! Pap Koudjo, a successful journalist from Togo is now working at Gotham Greens: an innovative urban agriculture business growing organic vegetables in rooftop greenhouses around the city!

Maged Al Gabri, a medical technology professional from Yemen was awarded a full scholarship to participate in General Assembly's User Experience Design Immersive. The course will prepare Maged to be a mover and shaker in the field of medical technology here in the United States, and to be able to continue his great work to serve the people of Yemen.

Congratulations for the Queens Ambassador Award!

Rodrigque Ouattara was awarded the Queens Ambassador Award on January 28, 2017.  This award is given to a new immigrant who is making a contribution to improve New York City.  Through his work in building green roof spaces throughout the city, including the United Nations, Rodrigue has already made a big impact.  Another award recipient was the famous Chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastinich, who also came to this country as a refugee and whose success is local and global!

Asylum at last!

It was October 31, 2016 a beautiful Halloween Day when Chantal was granted ASYLUM! :

"As you know I have been granted asylum in USA on October 31st 2016!!
It  has been a long journey...but I am glad as I have got kind and  caring people as you  All who helped me to stay positive and keep  " embracing " challenges. This is our victory!!! Thank you so much!!"

Best wishes to you Chantal and we hope that your family will be able to join you soon! ( Chantal was a leader of a women's NGO in Congo DRC )

Chantal & Maria.jpg

Work permit good news !

Barrie, Kabine and Papy got their work permit this past months of November & December.

"Hello Maria
I received my work permit last night.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you made for us here in New York.
Bonjour Maria, J'ai recu mon permis de travail, merci pour votre assistance!"  Kabine

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"Thank you very much for your relentless effort in helping asylum seekers. I just want to let you know that I have received my working permit and social security number. "  Barrie

Soon to be reunited with his family! — RIF Asylum Support

Babak an engineer from Iran was granted asylum this year and is now expecting to be reunited with his family

"I would like to thank you for supporting me to have my work authorization, travel document and applying for family reunification. My wife and eight year son had their interview for on August 2016 and will be join me after almost four year separation. That was not possible without your support through introducing me to Ms. Karin Lestelle. Karin is a highly skilled attorney, who works for one of the most prestigious law firm. She has done an impeccable job for me and my family as Pro Bono. I would like to thank her from my deepest heart....
RIF is a house of hope for many refugees and asylums, who they lost every thing in their home country and struggling to establish a new life in this great country"