The mission of Safari Yangu, as its name implies (Safari Yangu means “My Journey” in Swahili), is to present to the world the non-linear and realistic experiences of immigrants and refugees in New York City. Safari Yangu aims to offer a platform for immigrants and refugees to tell their unique stories in the hopes to dismantle stereotypes highlighting their humanity, talents and contributions. No journey is identical to another, each has its own beauty and its own challenges. The uniqueness of each journey is significant to highlight. Often times, immigrants and refugees are silenced, alienated and forgotten. Safari Yangu’s objective is to empower this striving yet voiceless and hidden part of our population through advocacy, storytelling, community organizing, referral, direct services, and public policy.
The mission of Safari Yangu is to put immigrants and refugees’ narratives at the center of public discourse, to challenge negative stereotypes about immigrants and refugees and to humanize them through storytelling. We provide a platform for immigrants to talk about the successes as well as challenges facing their communities as they often times feel scared, secluded and silenced. Safari Yangu will serve as an avenue for empowerment, service delivery, on the ground organizing, campaign and leadership.
Our mission is to challenge the negative narratives and discourse about immigrants by impacting public policy from immigrants’ perspectives in the United States and the Diaspora. We provide a platform for immigrants to talk about the successes as well as challenges facing their communities as they often times feel scared, secluded and silenced.
Highlighting the resilience and diversity of immigrants and refugees through storytelling. Empowered and united immigrant communities provided with the services they need in New York City.
What We Do
Safari Yangu empowers immigrants and refugees through 4 different programs: Advocacy Storytelling & Community Organizing, Referrals, Direct Services and Public Policy. Currently, Safari Yangu has been able to develop its Advocacy Storytelling & Community Organizing program extensively. As Safari Yangu extends, more resources will be allocated to the other programs.
Advocacy Storytelling & Community Organizing: Safari Yangu advocates for immigrants and refugees by organizing events and initiating projects to highlight their unique narratives. These events and projects allow us to raise awareness and advocate for immigration-related issues.
Referrals: Safari Yangu links immigrants and refugees to services and resources in the community.
Direct Services: Safari Yangu hopes to obtain further resources to serve the immigrant and refugee communities with case management, housing services, educational workshops etc...
Public Policy: Safari Yangu hopes to work on policies and laws impacting immigrants and refugees locally as well as nationally to improve their lives.
Who We Are
We are a volunteer-run and led organization. Safari Yangu is entirely run and managed by alumni and students of Columbia University, as well as volunteers from the Tri-State area. We are all passionate about supporting and empowering immigrant children, adults, and families in the United States. We believe in the power of storytelling as a tool to strengthen immigrant and refugee communities through the fight for justice and equality.
This initiative was started by Nick Ogutu who is a community organizer, social worker, human rights activist and alumni of Columbia University. Nick is well-known for his organizing and human rights advocacy with Amnesty International USA where he helped found two chapters and one local group. He has organized conferences, protests and rallies against discrimination and marginalization in countries like Haiti, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
As an immigrant himself, Nick was concerned by the widespread single narrative of immigrants, especially the black immigrants and refugees. He took interest in the gap of services for this underserved population. Additionally, he also realized the scarcity of opportunities for immigrants and refugees to share their unique stories and their contributions to local, state and national levels. After sharing his own story with classmates and friends, Nick decided to organize an immigrant storytelling seminar, with the help of a compelled group of students and friends. The event was very successful, consequently leading to the creation of Safari Yangu.
Maintaining trusting relationships with immigrant and refugee communities is important to our work and mission. We are committed to providing safe spaces to immigrants to tell their stories and connecting them to valuable community resources.
Where We Work
We operate from Columbia University Alumni Center, where we execute our work. We also organize virtual meetings and operate outside of the University’s facilities.