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.

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Refugees Helping Refugees, initially incorporated under the name of The Somali Community in Western NY (SCWNY), was founded in 2002 as an all-volunteer 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization. In 2015, SCWNY was reincorporated as Refugees Helping Refugees to reflect its changed constituency – refugees from all countries.

Two Somali refugees, meeting in a small apartment at River Park Commons in Rochester, NY, recognized the need for case management advocacy for Somali elders and families. The organization that they founded has been growing steadily and today offers a wide range of services to refugees including ESOL classes, case management, healthy living programs, vocational training, senior services, legal counseling, and more.

In 2016, one of the founders, Sadiya Omar, won two ESL Jefferson Awards for Public Service; one at the local level (in Rochester, NY) and one at the national level. The national Jefferson Awards were bestowed upon 15 recipients from throughout the country whose lives, careers and volunteer activities “embody the finest examples of public service in a range of human endeavors.”  In 2014 Sadiya, with Dr. Louise Bennett, was a finalist for the Farash Charitable Foundation Prize for Social Entrepreneurship. That year she was also a finalist for the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award, for making a meaningful difference in the lives of refugee women and children.

Refugees Helping Refugees
is a charitable organization.

Please consider donating, community support is what keeps our programs running.

Donate to RHR

Our Purpose

We provide a number of programs to help refugees resettle in their new community. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to volunteer or get involved.

Healthy Living Program

The Healthy Living Program consists of a guided physical education program, a hot meal, and visits from a food truck that distributes fresh, affordable, and local produce.

Continue reading “Healthy Living Program”

Youth Program

Designed to improve education achievement of refugee youth and combat learning gap due to lack of prior schooling. Offered in the summer.

Pictured Below: Youth Navigator of RHR Helping refugees kids to get bikes from R community bikes.