Meet Nzitonda

Meggean Ward

Nzitonda is from the D.R. Congo. Nzitonda spent 20 years at a Ugandan refugee camp before coming to Rhode Island in 2016.  He is the brother to our recent graduate Uzamakunda (featured in September 2016). Our trainees come to us as the most vulnerable who do not have prospects of working right away due to low English language skills, job skills. Nzitonda is one of our especially vulnerable because he has never attended school of any kind; this often makes for a shyness and reticence to jumping into the production with full force. Nzitonda started out cautiously, but had the willingness to learn. ...

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Meet Maha

Meggean Ward

A few weeks ago in our e-newsletter we told you about Maha, who just joined us in the kitchen. She prefers not to be photographed, so we tried to show her at work without showing her face. Maybe a candid photo like this is better anyway. Maha arrived from Syria, via Jordan, just two months ago with her brother and his family. When we asked her what she likes about her work at the Providence Granola Project, she looked over at Evon and smiled; when her boss is happy, she’s happy, she says. Evon’s smile keeps her going. Evon is...

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Meet Murekatete

Meggean Ward

Meet Murekatete. At 7, her family in DR Congo scattered.  She and a brother landed in Gihembe Refugee Camp in Rwanda for 18 years, before coming to Rhode Island in June of 2015.  Her brother says “We left our first life, now we are on our second.” Murekatete speaks a lot about being safe, people helping her, especially with her health.  For the first time since primary school, she began attending school (ESL class). And now Murekatete is starting her first job. She had NEVER worked, and never heard of granola before, but claims she loves the taste and the...

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Meet Uzamukunda

Meggean Ward

We caught up with Uzamukunda in the kitchen last Tuesday to find out how she’s doing learning job readiness and granola making skills. Her friend, and one of our newest employees, Aline Binyungu, provided interpretation. We asked Uzamukunda what she likes best about her work. She responded that she really likes working on a team, and not only working together, but also during break when they share a meal, six of them from four different countries. Carroll Webb, our Director of Operations and Training, says that Uzamukunda has now mastered all the tasks involved in granola production. She knows what’s...

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Meet Safari

Meggean Ward

Safari (top right) hardly remembers his homeland, having left as a three year-old. He thinks of himself as Tanzanian; grew up in the Nyarugusu refugee camp--one of the world's largest--outside Kigoma. The camp has become an increasingly dangerous place for the more than 140,000 refugees who wait there. For this reason, Safari is grateful that his family--father, brothers and sisters--will be joining him in a few weeks. Only 1,300 refugees were resettled from this camp last year. Safari arrived three months ago, the first in his family, and has been anxiously seeking a job.Amidst the chaos of camp life, Safari had managed to secure...

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Meet Media

Meggean Ward

This is Media, from the town of Bunagana, in the southeast corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1999, when she was just a girl of seven, she and her family were forced to flee their home due to the Congolese Civil War. Media grew up in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Uganda, about 300 miles from home. There, she learned to grow vegetables on her family’s small plot of land. Ten years later, she met and married her husband, Sam. Together they hoped for a better life, either to return to the Congo, or to build their future...

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