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The Problem: According to the United Nations, there are about 60 million uprooted people around the world who seek safety in another country. 75- 80 percent are women and children. Albuquerque has become home to many who've lost everything; widows, victims of murder, rape, terrorism and torture. They come from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Mexico, and the Caribbean, often with no formal education and without the ability to speak, read, and write English. They arrive with the clothes on their backs, no job skills, and unable to communicate in their new country. These women and children are terrified, lonely and lost as they fall through cracks.
IRRVA is an unfunded, 100% volunteer-driven, non-profit organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico. IRRVA is dedicated to providing a safety net for immigrants, refugees and their families through a variety of programs, resources, and support. Co-founded by Nkazi and Lungile Sinandile, themselves immigrants from South Africa, the goal of IRRVA is to help its participants make a successful transition to life in their new community, including social-emotion, physical, educational, and financial well-being. The long-term goal is for IRRVA community members to assume leadership roles within IRRVA and the greater community- sharing their individual talents and gifts with their community. IRRVA provides a level and quality of support that speaks directly to the hearts of its community participants.
A wide range of programs are offered to the adults in the IRRVA community, but below is a description of education programs offered specifically for the YOUNG people in IRRVA:
1. Early Childhood Developmental Program, for children between the ages of 3-5, whose parents are participating in the Women's Global Pathways Project. The Early Childhood Program meets two mornings a week, from 10 AM to 12:30pm. The opportunity to engage in a high quality, nurturing, and culturally sensitive preschool-type setting is vital for the children of the IRRVA Community. The Early Childhood Developmental Programs goal is to nurture the development of its students- socially, cognitively, and language-wise- and to help prepare the students for a more formal school setting, as they begin Kindergarten. The Early Childhood Developmental program follows a daily schedule of activities, including Circle Time, Music, Art, Story Time, Sharing Time, Snack, and Outdoor and Indoor Play. Parents of the children participate in all classes. Classes are exciting, dynamic, and highly interactive.
2. For students in grades K 12, IRRVA offers Read to Excel classes on Saturday afternoons, from 2-4 pm. Read to Excel falls under the direction of Lungile and Nkazi Sinanadile, but is planned and executed by a group of Albuquerque Academy students. This vital program provides both academic support as well as mentorship for IRRVA student participants. Each class includes personal and/or small group instruction by a large number of dedicated volunteers from Albuquerque Academy, with each session including practice in speaking English, reading, writing, and math, as well as assistance with homework. Snacks are provided for students at each session. Social/recreational events are also planned for the IRRVA students by the Read-to-Excel tutors, and are offered at regular intervals throughout the school year.
3. For students in grades K-12, The After-School Tutoring Program is another support program that is available on Monday afternoons.
This program offers 1-on-1 trained, adult tutors for participating students. Binders/Materials have been created for each students, based on individualized testing results. Each student binder also contains the following: 1. A personal journal section to provide each student with the opportunity to recount his/her own story (in as much detail as s/he wishes), using art, templates, maps, open pages, check lists of students preferences, etc. 2: A writing workbook, for writing practice based on the individual student's present level of writing skills. 3. A notecard box with 200 high frequency, sight words in it for the student and tutor to study. 4. A picture dictionary for each student. Access to a picture dictionary will increase student's ability to search and find words they are unable to say in English, but would like to use in their journals or in their conversations. 5: A bookshelf on wheels with culturally-sensitive books at various levels of reading, for the student to choose to read to and/or read with his/her tutor during each session. A healthy snack, including fruit, protein, and fresh water is provided during each session.
New Mexico Women's Global Pathways flagship program of IRRVA is a grassroots project that was founded and established in February 2009 by Asian, African, Latin American and USA women and girls to build economic futures for their children and themselves. www.nmwgp.org
Education, Micro-Enterprise, Job Development
(Sewing, Beading, Other Needle Art, Computer Literacy and Leadership Development, Preventive and Promotion of Health, Parent Engagement Regarding Children's Education)
Weekly Basic English as A Second Language Lessons by volunteers help families access community resources.
Skills training including gardening therefore growing own food helps families use skills brought from own countries to provide healthy food for their children/themselves.