Nah We Yone

Award Recipients - 2003

Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith, Judy Rogers, Hawthorne Smith & Wilma Jones, Co-Founders

Nah We Yone (NWY) provides support to Africans in New York City who have been displaced by war, in particular those from Sierra Leone.  Since 1991, this county’s civil war has produced the largest refugee population in Africa.  Human Rights Watch researchers have gathered testimonies from fleeing civilians and documented abuses such as the abduction of children, rape of young girls, murder of innocent people, and amputation of the arms and legs of civilians.  In 1997, after a year of peace, the Sierra Leonean government was overthrown.  Within a month, the formation of Nah We Yone was announced.  It means, “It belongs to us.  It is our responsibility.”  
NWY helps African families settle in the city.  Immigration issues are a starting point with each person’s case determined on a case-by-case basis.  Since many Sierra Leoneans seeking asylum were confined to detention centers in the metropolitan area, NWY initiated a visitation program to provide moral support, legal referrals and language interpreters.  NWY also provides families with referrals to psychological and emotional counseling and basic social services.  Meetings bring members together to share news from home and get updates on the political situation in Africa.  In 2001, NWY initiated a summer camp for children to provide a safe environment where refugee youth experience the joys of normal childhood and develop an appreciation of their culture.

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