By Glen Rosales
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Editor’s note: Today, the Journal continues its annual Help for the Holidays series, spotlighting areas in which community members can reach out to neighbors in need. The series concludes next Sunday in Living.
Miliana Toyi arrived in Albuquerque in 2013 after living for years in a squalid refugee camp in Tanzania.
Forced to flee her native Burundi because of the spillover from the civil war in neighboring Rwanda, Toyi only escaped the camp because of a lottery that plucked her from a bad situation and dumped her in New Mexico with virtually no resources.
She arrived here speaking no English and with almost no marketable skills.
“I am trying to learn good English,” she said haltingly with some prompting from Nkazi Sinandile, co-founder of the extremely grass-roots organization, New Mexico Women’s Global Pathways. “And to sew. But no money.”
How you can help
New Mexico Women’s Global Pathways helps women refugees gain language, as well as marketable career and business skills.
Immediate needs are financial support, fabric, beads and heavy-duty sewing machines. Its long-term needs are a dedicated full-time location, volunteers for administrative assistant work, child care, a website creator and English tutors.
Contact Nkazi Sinandile, 505-435-5741, to arrange donation dropoff at the Robert M. Hawk PB&J Family Services building on San Pablo SE just south of Zuni SE.
Find out more about the organization at irrva-com.webs.com/womensglobalpathways.htm.
Sinandile, herself an immigrant from South Africa, saw that refugees like Toyi were arriving in Albuquerque with no means to support themselves or even hope of finding a job because of language and training barriers.
The U.S. State Department approves refugee relocation and provides three months of financial support to help resettled refugees get their bearings and begin language classes, start to understand American culture and, it is hoped, land a job.