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Refugee Women in Action (RWIA) is a non-profit organization assisting refugee women and their families from Central African and Southeast Asian countries who have resettled in Columbus, Ohio.
We strive to establish sustainable programs to assist the growing refugee community within Central Ohio. RWIA looks to support, guide, and teach life skills to refugees as they work towards establishing social and economic independence in their new lives.
*Formerly Rwanda Women in Action
Co-Founder Norah Bagirinka was recently selected as a 2015 YWCA Women of Achievement honeree! Read about Norah and other 2015 honorees here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2014/11/12/women-of-achievement.html
In 1994 over 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in just 100 days. Columbus, Ohio has become the asylum to more than 150 refugee Rwandan, Congolese and Burundi women and their families. When they arrive in Central Ohio, most refuges do not speak English, are unfamiliar with American customs and after years of living in refugee camps are inexperienced with the simplest workings of their new homes. They need instruction for tasks like: grocery shopping, use of appliances such as, washing machines, vacuums and ovens. We are working on a pamphlet written in their native languages to provide them with the necessary information.Norah Bagirinka and Tatiana Adams established Rwanda Women In Action in 2007; both survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, these are two women who have first hand knowledge and experience of the cruelty and violence that were perpetrated on the people of their country. Norah and Tatiana have marshaled their experiences and compassion to become the life source for these new refugees in Central Ohio. Their ability to speak different African languages, French and English gives them the means to communicate and interpret for the refugees during legal proceedings, emergency situations and job preparation classes.