Refugees Helping Refugees (RHR) is a non-profit organization that serves refugees of Western New York. RHR seeks to foster the growth, self-determination, and self-reliance of Rochester’s refugee community by making them agents of their own advancement.
Refugees Helping Refugees, initially incorporated under the name of The Somali Community in Western NY (SCWNY), was founded in 2002 as a 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization. Two Somali refugees, meeting in a small apartment at River Park Commons in Rochester, NY, did case management and after school tutoring. On December 31, 2015 the SCWNY was reincorporated as Refugees Helping Refugees, Inc to reflect its changed constituency – refugees from all countries. THe organization has been growing steadily ever since.
This year, one of the founders, Sadiya Omar, won the 2016 ESL Jefferson award.
Imagine arriving in Rochester with just the clothes on your back, no way to make money to feed your family, and sometimes no way to even communicate. That’s the story of 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner Sadiya Omar.
For somebody who comes from another country, not speaking the language, not knowing the culture,” says Omar. “It’s like you don’t know anything when you come here.
Omar runs the Refugees Helping Refugees Center on South Avenue which she created after coming to Rochester 15 years ago. At the center, Omar makes sure refugees can retain their native cultures, but also learn English and how to use computers. She helps them assimilate into the Rochester community, and often takes them on trips to the Public Market.