As immigrants themselves, the founders, who left the strictures of the Apartheid regime in South Africa know first hand the struggles, hopes and potential of the refugee and immigrant communities. It was this deeply rooted knowledge of the many cultural obstacles and strengths that led the founders to create in connection with other African leaders living in New Mexico a community driven, grass-roots coalition organization by and for immigrants and refugees from Africa, so that new African arrivals would not have to face the many cultural challenges alone that past immigrants and refugees faced. As a recognized organization IRRVA currently serves refugees, immigrants, and asylees from Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Asia, Middle East, and at risk locals. including children and other under-served New Mexican children and their families.
IRRVA was previously operated under the umbrella of the South African Orion Duet Ministries (southafricanorionduet.com) . In the fall of 2006, Lungile and Nkazi (The South African Orion Duet) utilizing personal finances, were able to serve fewer refugee families specifically from Africa that were referred to them by resettling agencies and other entities, but this number grew to over 400 by the end of 2010.
By the middle of 2007 refugees and other immigrants from Middle East and Asia were also referred to the organization. With the help of the La Mesa Presbyterian church and some community members, the South African Orion Duet managed to support this voluntary driven work financially for a while, until it became obvious that the duo could no longer manage this work by themselves and in 2010 organized as a grass-roots ethnic driven organization with other cultural community members. As a result Immigrant And Refugee Resource Village Of Albuquerque was established. IRRVA was incorporated in New Mexico as a not for profit organization in 2011 and received its 501 c (3) status in 2012. We are thankful to the community members who stepped in to structure IRRVA and became board members of IRRVA.
For 8 years IRRVA volunteers continue to serve at risk and hard to reach children and their families with compassion, enthusiasm and dedication respecting their self-worth and dignity. Due to economic downturn and lack of government or grantor funding, therefore limited capacity to expand services, the program director continues to use personal funds for gas as well as other needed supplies. With occasional private monetary donations and space provided by PB& J family services, we continue to serve the at risk families though on a limited basis.
Scope of work since 2006. These are activities to ensure that no child or adult is hungry or homeless.
1. In collaboration with local agencies, various ethnic communities IRRVA advocates with and for children and their families, to ensure healthy resettlement and intergration;
2. Delivers healthy food, household items and clothing to supplement family budgets;
3. Conducts awareness campaigns and educate the public about the various unique contributions, challenges and needs of refugee and immigrants and other under-served children and families in New Mexico;
4. Runs a Read to Excel and enrichment activities program every Saturday from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. for children, youth and young adult since October 2013;
6. Recruits volunteer tutors who are trained to provide one on one tutoring in basic literacy and English as a second language to adults, who are illiterate even in their own languages;
7. Transports families and children and youth to enriching activities weekly,
8. Conducts quarterly/annual Village Feasts/holiday events, where refugees and immigrant children, their parents and community members find camaraderie and exchange culture;
9. Offers emotional, economic, physical, and social support through weekly visitations and transporting to enriching activities;
10. Nurture children and young adults every Saturday through healthy meals, music training and singing, dance, theater and healthy relationships training and other strengthening life skills
11. In 2013 IRRVA merged with its sister organization New Mexico Women?s Global Pathways where free vocational and job skills, business, basic literacy, English as a second language weaving and beading training are offered to women, girls, boys and men, with the highest percentage of participants being women and girls.
12. Rallies community support on behalf of children and their families;
13. Advocates with and for ethnic communities for equal access to resources;
14. Refers children and their families to other organizations as needed for assistance;
15. Acts as a bridge between refugee, immigrant and local communities;
16. If funding allows, IRRVA wants to expand its education program by starting an International Language school for refugee, immigrant children and their parents;
17. Supports children and their families through case management including home visitations.
18. Engages in fund raising efforts
19. Advocates with and for parents and students in regards to their education in collaboration with local resettling agencies as needed;
20. dialogues with various ethnic community leaders to ensure that families can identify their challenges and establish goals and priorities;
21. Mentors children and their parents to develop self-esteem, civic participation as they access community resources;
22. Initiated a "pre-school on wheels" for children of parents participating at the economical development center for women, girls and their families.
Please help New Mexico children and their families thrive by donating: Please make donations payable to IRRVA and send to IRRVA, P.O. Box 93445, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87199 or donate via paypal at www.irrva.com. Thank you!!!