Wednesday, September 27, 2023

African Couple Confronts International District’s Poverty and Relocation Challenges


African Couple Confronts International District’s Poverty and Relocation Challenges

Fashion Show Fundraiser Helps Immigrant and Refugee Women

Nikazi and Lunjgile Sinandile have been confronting Albuquerque’s challenging humanitarian crisis head on for almost two decades. Their intent is to provide support and empower vulnerable immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, the homeless and the under-served local people of Albuquerque. They took their passion for the challenges these groups face and the expression “It takes a Village” literally and founded the New Mexico Women’s Global Pathways (NMWGP) and its sister nonprofit Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque Inc. IRRVA is located at 120 Mesilla Street NE.

Resolving the Challenges of Poverty and Relocation

The majority of these vulnerable groups reside in Albuquerque’s International District and are from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Haiti, Mexico, Cuba and the US. They can feel lost as they face a vast array of assimilation and lack of support issues. The women can be widows and victims of rape and torture. Many have fled threatening situations in their home countries, don’t speak English or they have lost their jobs, their homes and are trying to stay alive on Albuquerque’s streets. Living paycheck to paycheck would be a vast improvement financially for most of them.

The grassroot organizations the Sinandiles founded help provide these marginalized groups with a sense of community, a place where they can learn English and life skills, cook a meal, get a ride to the doctors, the grocery store or receive the one on one or day to day support they desperately need. also offer many

Their Ubantu Village is a place to gather and learn. They offer several programs dedicated to helping these groups succeed. Their Read to Excel Mentoring Program (2-19 years olds), provides snacks and dedicated volunteers from Albuquerque Academy who practice with participants speaking English, reading, writing, math and homework help. They provide group tutoring and STEM activities. Other programs offered include interpretation, building culture through art and music, micro-enterprise development, computer literacy and website development, leadership development and food justice programming through growing food.

Creating a Micro Business of Seamstresses

Through funding from the CABQ and Bernalillo county, NMWGP created the Umwe Sewing Cooperative where refugee, immigrant and at-risk local girls received stipends and were trained to sew body friendly tote bags, phone bags and head scarves to hand out to Albuquerque’s homeless. That funding has ended and they are seeking volunteers who can sew these waterproof items at home. They also need donations of water proof, body friendly, soft sewing materials and funds to pay the seamstresses they’ve trained.

Both organizations are reaching out to government officials, the community and its leaders asking for support and sponsorship. The support can be given in the form of grants, donations of money, food, materials or volunteer time helping or sewing items at home for the homeless.

To help raise community awareness and financial support for their programing NMWGP is inviting the Albuquerque community to come and enjoy the Ubuntu Fashion Fusion Cultural Show. It’s an evening of music, dancing, drumming and a fashion show of outfits and crafts by artisans of NMWGP on September 10, from 7pm to 9pm at North Fourth Art Center 4904 4th Street NW. Suggested donation to attend is $15. Nkazi and Lungile Sinandile will sing at this event. Known as the South African Orion Duet, they have been singing together since 1979 in South Africa and have performed across the US. Their repertoire includes hundreds of songs of hope and liberty.

Nkazi Sinandile told the Paper in an email “the marginalized populations of New Mexico can attain self-sufficiency through education, economic development, and strengthened life skills, thereby addressing the social, economic, and educational needs of their children.”

For more information on how you can help contact


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here