Sadiya fled the civil war in Somalia in the early 1990s and became a respected educator and advocate for women and girls in refugee camps in Kenya. Advocating for girls’ education was contested and dangerous, and Ms. Omar’s life was in danger in the camp. Because of that, her application for asylum was fast-tracked and she arrived in the United States in 2001, after residing in refugee camps for ten years. She continued her tireless advocacy after resettling in Rochester, working with other Somali refugees to form the Somali Community of Western New York (SCWNY), which became Refugees Helping Refugees in 2015.
Mai Abdullah is Refugees Helping Refugees Executive Director. Mai is a non-profit professional and community advocate; she has been involved with the New Americans throughout her entire career. Mai is a powerful force in the community
and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to use their power to advocate for change.
Mai holds a Master’s in Environmental Health and Safety Management from Rochester Institute of Technology and is a graduate of Leadership Rochester (2023) and the WYCA Equity through Development program.
Andriana is our Grants Manager. She previously served in various capacities at Refugees Helping Refugees, most recently as our Executive Director. She spent several years in NYC working in human rights providing direct service to clients,
trainings, continues to provide these trainings on best practices for trauma, language access and related issues for various government exchange programs, public and private institutions on behalf of RHR. She is an expert in human
trafficking and provides consults and expert witness testimony for cases as well. She is an essential asset to our team and is amazing in everything she does.
Haji Yuldash is a youth coordinator at Refugees Helping Refugees and a community advocate in Rochester, New York. He has tremendous years of experience working with youth and refugees in Rochester. Before he moved to the states, he worked as an ESL teacher, program development officer, and cultural advisor in Afghanistan. Haji is a passionate advocate for his people, and he uses his positive attitude and courage to help others by inspiring a real difference in the lives of refugees and youth. He is also a talented writer and translator, and he has published a collection of fables in his native language as well as speaks multiple languages.
Stergios Skatharoudis was born and raised in Greece, and has been in the states since 1986. When he was younger he travelled around the world via Merchant Marines which taught him a deep experiential appreciation of cultures and languages. He also loves searching for trainings to: reduce stress, depression, trauma-related issues, and so much more. He works at Refugees Helping Refugees as the social worker. He is very glad to be here!
My name is Ayan. I am from Somalia but born in Kenya. My parents are Somalis. My family and I have been residing in Rochester, NY for over a decade. I have been at Refugees Helping Refugees for the past twelve years. I am a part of RHR’s case management team and am currently attending the University of New York Brockport to obtain a degree in Social Work. As a case manager my primary goal is to ensure that our client’s needs are met efficiently and effectively despite any trials and tribulations that arise. She also knows how to speak Swahili, Somali, along with English.
Hello, my name is Sumayah; I graduated from SUNY Brockport with a psychology degree. I am fluent in Arabic and English, and I know some Spanish. I love helping others, also I enjoy cooking and painting. Previously, I worked as an Arabic interpreter. At Refugees Helping Refugees, I am a case manager. At RHR I assist refugees, asylees, immigrants, and others in applying for jobs, preparing them for interviews, help and conduct case management, and work throughout the hiring process. We help individuals who also are having trouble with insurance, housing, billing, and legal aid.
Hello, my name is Amber Walker and I was born and raised in Rochester, NY. My grandparents are from Puerto Rico. And I am the current president of Zeta Amicae of Monroe County. While residing at the president of Zeta Amicae, I oversee each women’s growth to further their accomplishments within the community. Through my work as the president, I transfer this passion over into my work at Refugees Helping Refugees as the Office Manager. I am on the frontline of communication between the community and RHR. So, give me a call and I’m more than happy to help!
Hello, my name is Efrain J. DeJesus. I am the Office Assistant at Refugees Helping Refugees. I have an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Monroe Community College, and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in History from SUNY Brockport. I joined RHR in the fall of 2017 as a volunteer because I wanted to give back to my community. Through this drive of mine, I have become a sort of jack of all trades for everyone at RHR. If anyone ever needs anything, I am always willing to lend a hand.
Rachel Jarrett was born and raised in Texas. Last May, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Arabic Studies. She relocated to Rochester, NY to work at Refugees Helping Refugees as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) via the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), working for RHR for one year. She has a strong passion for mission work, service, and kiddos. If y’all ever need anything, don’t hesitate to ask!!
Hi everyone, my name is Jenna Vinoya and I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Refugees Helping Refugees! I am currently a student at St. John Fisher University studying Public Health. I graduate next year from St. John Fisher University in hopes of pursuing my goals in the healthcare field. Since I am still in college, I work part time at RHR. In my free time, I like traveling, spending time with my friends and family, and going to museums!
Joe is a community volunteer and advocate within his community. He also has experience and credentials in corporate finance management and human resources. Joe is one of our English as a Second Language (or ESOL) teachers here at Refugees Helping Refugees. Joe is also a wonderful father for his two children. He is a simple man who can fluently speak English and French.
Omid is Refugees Helping Refugees Program Manager and one of our ESOL Teachers. He is originally from Herat, Afghanistan where he graduated from an English literature faculty. Omid served for US military back in Afghanistan as an Administrative Assistant and Interpreter. In 2021 Omid immigrated to USA by (SIV) After two years of working with Lifetime, Omid Joined to Refugees Helping Refugees family as Program Manager and ESOL Teacher for all refugees.