We are Safari Yangu – We volunteer:
Safari Yangu, that is Swahili for My Journey.
Safari Yangu is a volunteer-operated organization mainly powered by Colombia University’s alumni and students who are collectively passionate about one main thing, the welfare of those who are labeled as an immigrant and/or refugee (IAR). Safari Yangu focuses on empowering and supporting IAR’s within the United States of America. The uniqueness of Safari Yangu is rooted in the belief that a major strength within the IAR community can be attained by harnessing the power of storytelling. In so doing, Safari Yangu believes the fight for justice and equality among its chosen communities will prove to be a force to be reckoned with.
Safari Yangu’s Mission – Expose the fluidity of American IAR’s through storytelling
Safari Yangu's mission is to place IARs narratives at the center of public discourse, to abolish negative stigmata surrounding IARs while humanizing IARs through storytelling. As many IARs often feel secluded, scared, and silenced, Safari Yangu has found a way to furnish safe platforms for IARs who desire to share their story. The richness and colorful display of each story makes way for a greater understanding and depth into the hearts and minds of each listener. Safari Yangu believes the candid voice of IARs is the most effective way to dismantle the negative ideologies that have plagued countless people. Safari Yangu aims to dispel the negative narrative and discourse attached to IARs by impacting public policies that affect IARs
Safari Yangu’s Vision – We leverage the power of storytelling
Simply put, Safari Yangu leverages the power of storytelling to aid in the process of IARs success. Through sharing one’s journey with others, many IARs find strength, hope, and direction after witnessing the resilience and diversity of fellow IARs. Safari Yangu strives to cultivate a slew of empowered and united IAR communities within the USA that are sustained by the services needed.
Safari Yangu’s Focus – We Empower
Safari Yangu serves to empower IARs by making readily available 4 distinct programs:
Storytelling forums and community organizing: This program allows IAR’s the opportunity to share their unique narratives worldwide via organized events and projects. Such events and projects spotlight the realities of IARs causing increased awareness which opens the door for Safari Yangu to advocate for immigration-related issues.
Direct services: This unit helps with case management, housing services, educational workshops, immigration liaison services, and more.
Public policy: Safari Yangu works tirelessly with national and international governments to mitigate the lack of knowledge and understanding afflicting the IARs community.
Resource: Safari Yangu provides IARs with essential links to community services and referrals.
Safari Yangu’s Founder – Mr. Nickson Ogutu
As an immigrant himself, Kenyan native, Nickson (Nick) Ogutu embodies the spirit of problem-solving and proactiveness. Additionally, his diverse nature also allows him to employ reactiveness when necessary.
Multifaceted to say the least, Nick dons titles such as community organizer and activist, human rights advocate, and licensed social worker, all of which he cherishes.
During his time as a student at Columbia University, while residing in New York City, Nick identified the myopic narrative presented and shared regarding IARs – especially those black IAR. Some deficits identified by Nick were things such as underrepresentation and scarce opportunities offered within the IAR communities. Such underrepresentation blocked many IAR from having the opportunity to share not only their unique Safari, but also to share their contribution(s) to local, state, and national officials. Once privy to this information, Nick saw this as an opportunity to share his story with classmates and friends. As such, Nick decided to continue to fill the gap by way of organizing an IAR storytelling forum which was a success. Taking things yet a step further, with a group of compelled students and friends, Nickson Ogutu spawned what we know as Safari Yangu.
Well known for his human rights activism, community organization, rallies, protests, and conferences against discrimination and marginalization in countries like Burundi, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Kenya, Nick is no stranger to hard work, opposition, commitment, and triumph.
Using his experience in all things pertaining to human rights, Nick decided to collaborate with others who share his same passion for human rights. As such, in a joint effort with Amnesty International USA, a fellow human rights group, Nick sojourned with this group and soon thereafter, assisted in the grassroots effort of establishing one local group and two-chapter formation.
Safari Yangu’s Commitment – We build trust
Safari Yangu is committed to building trust.
A fraction of our backbone is dedicated to developing and maintaining trusting relationships within the IAR communities. Safari Yangu is so committed to building trust that we continue to extend our level of building trust throughout those organizations that support the IAR communities. Dedicated to fostering safe spaces for IARs to not only tell their stories but to thrive, Safari Yangu offers a conglomeration of some of the most extensive and valuable community resources available.
Safari Yangu’s Commitment – We build trust
Columbia University’s Alumni Center is where we call home. It is our brick-and-mortar location. As innovators and respecters of time and space, Safari Yangu aims to extend its reach beyond borders by offering virtual meeting spaces.