OF ALBUQUERQUE 




IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE RESOURCE VILLAGE OF ALBUQUERQUE started as a project of the South African Orion Duet Ministries in the fall of 2006, to welcome, nurture African refugees and immigrants coming from Africa to Albuquerque so they can thrive socially, economically and educationally and to help families rebuild their lives in a dignified, culturally and linguistically relevant manner, Formed in 2011 as a 501 c (3) IRRVA is the to go organization for refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers and vulnerable children and families from Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Due to limited funding opportunities IRRVA does not actively recruit, people are referred by the Income Support Division of Human Services, other refugee and immigrant families who have received services from IRRVA and by other local organizations.

IRRVA realizes that while there are many organizations that serve these families, the children and women in particular have hardly been equipped to deal with resettlement challenges and inequities as it relates to education, employment, the justice penal system, child rearing resulting in parents losing the children to the custody of the government.

IRRVA has observed that while they are many organizations serving the target population the majority of refugee, immigrant and asylum seeker children continue to be neglected and are lost in their new home and society. One of the many areas IRRVA has focused on since 2006 is education of the children and adults specifically as it relates to teaching English as a Second Language. Over the years we have experimented with different tutoring modalities and noticed how long and difficult it takes for youth aged 12 years to 19 years and adults in particular to acquire English language skills.

Furthermore tutoring services are limited and reach only a very small percentage of the children and adults. IRRVA is embarking on piloting a new tutoring strategy to teach children and adults of these communities to read and write and speak English timely and painlessly.

The Immigrants and Refugees in particular the youth and women are not equipped or empowered to deal with challenges they face upon resettling in New Mexico. They lack the tools and support needed for them to thrive socially, educationally and economically in their new home. They have become a “public charge”. Countries of origin, lack of the ability to speak and read English, their looks and color of their skin further leaves them targets for bullying and discrimination and therefore failure to thrive.


  • Continue to work alongside community organizations to advocate for equity in the education of children in Albuquerque Public Schools while researching on better population to ensure adequate and equitable delivery of services in a culturally relevant way and therefore aid the smooth and painless resettlement of these families in New Mexico life.
  1. Support Refugee and Immigrant communities in creating thriving communities that are economically, socially and politically connected to the larger community.
  • Collaborate with the city of Albuquerque, refugee and immigrant communities, Funders, the State, resettling agencies, churches, schools, and local businesses to strengthen existing programs and services provided to the Refugee and immigrant families from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of the world
  • Equip ( provide regular ongoing educational support) the children and youth with educational skills such as STEM and computer technology to boost their knowledge and employability skills and teach them skills to avoid truancy, exposure to sexual predators, gang activity and other criminal activities
  • Teach parents about the American ways of parenting to avoid children being taken by away from them by CYFD/Government.
  • Continue to hold Social Events e.g. the Village Feasts where the community and the refugee and immigrant families find camaraderie and support
  • Collaborate with local colleges and other institutions of higher learning to facilitate tutoring in specific subjects like STEM and computer science to include basic computer, web design and coding.
  • Meet with politicians including the State department and resettling agencies to discuss the status and unique needs fo this population.


As immigrants who left the strictures of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, the founders of IRRVA know first-hand the struggles, hopes, and also the potential of the refugee and immigrant communities specifically the Africa refugees and immigrants. It was this deeply rooted knowledge of the many obstacles and strengths of the immigrant and refugee community that led Nkazi and Lungile Sinandile to create a community driven, grass-roots coalition organization by and for immigrants and refugees from Africa. Working in connection with other African leaders living in New Mexico, they hoped that the new African arrivals would not have to face the many cultural challenges past immigrants and refugees faced, all alone. The Sinandiles saw first hand in 2007 that the Africans who resettled in New Mexico were ill equipped and less empowered to deal with the challenges of resettlement. Upon arrival the majority of them lack basic skills including the English language, are often  marginalized, discriminated against and lack basic skills to help them navigate local systems. They find it difficult to contribute to their families welfare and to community development. 

In collaboration with other local refugee and immigrant serving organizations, IRRVA advocates for and with program participants and engages the adult and the children in leadership development, community engagement, engagement of parents in the education of their children, literacy programs including computer based English as a Second language, group tutoring. They seek to experiment tutoring with interpretation using native interpreters who speak the program participants languages and teach computer literacy to include website development and coding with assistant of community volunteers.

A. Programs and Services IRRVA currently offers:

Under IRRVA's flagship program New Mexico Women's Global Pathways, the following projects are offered:
1.   Vocational Skills Training via a Micro-enterprise business including sewing, beading, crotcheting, ethnic fashions and accessories. Also, sales events/fashion shows that enable the crafters to sell their products.
2.   Free Early Childhood program for the children of parents involved in sewing/beading micro-enterprise.
3.   One on One and group ESL (Ensligh as a second language) and computer based ESL by trained instructors.
4.   Vegetable Gardens where families grow food for own consumption and plan to sell to generate income, in the near future. This also provides job training, leadership opportunities and socializing opportunities for IRRVA community members.

B.   Education Programs for Youth ( Ages infant - 20 years).
C. Develop capacity development of the refugee and immigrant community.
D. Educate the community about the presence, contributions and strengths of the refugees and immigrants.
E.  Collaborate with other organizations that make up Global 505 to meet with government officials, schools and other stake holders so as to ensure that families receive holistic and equitable services.
F.  Interface with schools attended by the children so as to advocate and mediate between the children and families.
G.  Advocate for and with the families.




IRRVA a 501 c (3) exempt organization serves low or no income, vulnerable kids and families who are refugees, immigrants, and locals, without discrimination including the homeless and almost homeless. IRRVA serves people from Africa, Asia, Middle East, U.S.A. and other parts of the world. While all refugees face significant barriers, the majority of the African refugee and immigrant community in particular those who have no formal education, therefore inability to speak, read and write English tend to face great obstacles and are more vulnerable than those who had some form of education, speak and write English.While there are agencies that provide assistance to refugees resettling in New Mexico, it is not sufficient for them to establish themselves in a new country that has one of the most complex systems in the world.

By the time the assistance provided to each refugee ends ( after 3 to 6 months) very few are ready to navigate on their own and outcomes are negative. On the other hand agencies that help immigrants are limited.The majority especially women, single parents and young adults find it very difficult to find or retain jobs due to deficient prior work experience, skills and basic education.  Most local agencies are not designed to provide and bridge those gaps.

Goals And Objectives: 

Main goal is to prevent homelessness by

1.creating a sustainable program to train and hire 75 people yearly, who will create traditionally inspired garments, accessories for selling online in New Mexico and globally;

2. Educate families;

3. Promote gardening ( grow own food) for consumption and marketing for healthy living.4. Teach Nutrition and healthy cooking for overall heal

Other Goals

  1. Strengthen and support resettled families, local low income, immigrants and other vulnerable people in New Mexico through advocacy, education and empowerment;
  2. Develop networks of refugee,immigrant and community leaders focused on educational success from birth to college;
  3. promote and improve the health of families;
  4. Prevent disease;
  5. mobilize and assist community leaders and communities to identify community needs and strategies as it relates to raising children who are connected socially, emotionally, educationally and economically;
  6. Familiarize refugees with the U.S. Health-care system
  7. Provide direct or referral Services to address unmet needs in the areas of English language training, employment, housing, health, social services or self help;
  8. Organize efforts and orientation designed to inform the refugee and other immigrant communities about issues essential to functioning well in their new home;
  9. Provide focused orientation and assistance to parents in connecting with the school system;
  10. Preserve  refugee and immigrant traditional art forms;
  11. Advocate for and with refugee and immigrant communities;
  12. Educate the Community at large about the presence, contributions, resilience and potential of refugee and immigrants;
  13. Promote Each One Teach One concept where people who have learned a skill or are successful teach and help another succeed
  14. Secure and manage a One Stop Center to provide a myriad of services to families
  15. Assist families in growing own food for consumption and marketing;
  16. Develop Culturally sensitive child care programming

Current Programs & Services

IRRVA offers various free services to meet its mission. They include programs in Women Empowerment, Girl, Boy and men empowerment, Educational, Youth, Community Service, mentoring, community education, health, leadership development,civics and advocacy. We also provide information and referrals to other resources already available in the area to efficiency of resources.

Youth and Education Services

Goal: to provide quality, holistic services which guide at risk refugee, immigrant, youth and other at risk vulnerable children success.
Programs: IRRVA mentors and counselors to assist refugee/immigrant parents with advocacy, interpretations, parent-teacher conferences, Job search, problem solving assistance, cultural consultations

Future Offerings
One Stop Center for Healing, Social, Educational, Economic Development And Recreation.
Goal: 1. To train and assist aspiring at risk refugee, immigrants and indigenous adult and youth with a goal to pay a living wage with benefits while people are in training either to be employed at the center or to own their own businesses.

Goal: 2. Assist refugees to convene Refugee Healing Circles for adults and youth where participants with the help of  mental work practitioners, social workers and refugees who have inter grated successfully can gather in safe spaces to better meet the mental  needs of each participant through activities identified by and for refugees.

Goal 3. To assist children and families  in health promotion and disease prevention

Goal 4. To ensure children and their families have access to healthy foods

Reconciliation, Conflict Resolution Family Peace Services 

Goal: to educate refugees and other immigrants about American laws to reduce domestic violence, incidents of child neglect/abuse, American way of disciplining children, dealing with the criminal justice system, gender-based violence, strengthening couple relationships.

Elderly and Disabled Services

Interpretation and Translation Services Resources

 Work in ProgressWe are not fully able to implement all  this and other initiative yet without the proper space for clients to have the training and practice. We believe it will be one of the most rewarding initiatives for the New Mexico at risk immigrant, refugee community.

In Focus:    International Language School/Global Charter School in partnership with local organizations to address the unmet needs of refugee and other immigrant children.

Collecting and deliver furniture, kitchenware, clothes, and other necessities to supplement family budget.  Refugees and other immigrants come to New Mexico with no money and very few personal possessions.  IRRVA rallies community support.


Please help IRRVA help "hard to reach" and "at risk" families help themselves.  Please donate.  Please mail your check donation to IRRVA P.O. Box 93445, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. 87199.  Thank you.


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