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Our Story​

In 1996 Lungile and Nkazi Sinandile (aka South African Orion Duet) a vocal husband-wife recording team started refugee outreach by staging Rwanda Civil War benefit fund-raisers to help identified genocide victims in Rwanda. In 1997, they brought a young Rwandan orphan to New Mexico with the help of New Mexicans. The couple continued to sing for the Glory of God while raising funds to benefit refugees, immigrants, asylees, and other under-served children and families in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as identified HIV/AIDS infected and affected orphans of their native land, specifically the Eastern Cape, South Africa, which is the couple's native land.  Lungile and Nkazi Sinandile left the structures of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. They knew 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 Nkazi and Lungile to connect with other African leaders living in New Mexico to create a community-driven, grassroots coalition organization by and for immigrants and refugees from Africa. 

In the fall of 2006, Lungile and Nkazi, utilizing personal finances, were able to serve 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 the Middle East and Asia were also referred to IRRVA. 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.

In 2010, they organized as a grassroots ethnic driven organization with other cultural community members. As a result Immigrant And Refugee Resource Village Of Albuquerque (IRRVA) was established. IRRVA was incorporated in New Mexico as a not-for-profit organization in 2011 and received its 501c(3) status in 2012. We are thankful to the community members who stepped in to structure IRRVA and became board members of IRRVA.

About the South African Orion Duet

Lungile and Nkazi Sinandile of The South African Orion Duet have been singing together since 1979 in South Africa. Singing songs of hope and liberty, they have hundreds of songs in their repertoire with performances across the US. 

Please support the work of Nkazi and Lungile

Your donation can support the work of Lungile and Nkazi in all of the services they provide to immigrants and refugees in Albuquerque. They currently use their own money to cover expenses like gas and supplies, so every donation means a great deal!

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Please call us if you'd like to get involved:

 (505) 435-5741

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