Haitian Women For Haitian Refugees

Award Recipients - 2000

Ninaj Raoul, Co-Founder & Director

Ninaj Raoul co-founded Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR) in 1992 to meet the needs of Haitian refugees arriving in New York as a result of the overthrow of President Artistide.  Initial efforts focused on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and helping refugees navigate the system to obtain political asylum.  HWHR also provided supportive service to meet basic necessities, taught English classes, made legal referrals, provided counseling, obtained health care and other services.  By 1993, most of the refugees housed at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba had been processed except for 230 people who have tested HIV positive.  HWHR joined in a successful lawsuit against the United States government seeking the release of HIV positive refugees on medical or humanitarian grounds.  HWHR also helped coordinated efforts for legislation allowing approximately 50,000 Haitians with political asylum claims to apply for legal permanent residency.  
Today HWHR continues to address the needs of Haitians living in this country.  HWHR incorporates community organizing into on-going literacy and English language classes.  In 1997, HWHR participated in a campaign against police brutality in response to the Abner Louima torture and Patrick Dorismond murder.  With deep roots among the Haitian people, HWHR’s programs are dynamic and growing.

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