Refugee Alliance Network (RAN) began as The African Rights Activist’s Group (ARAG), established in 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada as a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) community based organization. Since 2015, we have expanded to the DC metropolitan area, serving the District of Columbia and its outlying suburbs. RAN works closely with the private and public sectors to serve as a liaison between refugees and the communities in which they live. Our mission is to educate, inform, protect, and provide services to refugees regardless of race, creed, age, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation or physical challenges.
We seek to both inform refugees about community resources available to them and empower refugees to speak for themselves. In Nevada, RAN implemented educational outreach and social programs, community workshops, and career services. Informational sessions were held at various universities, churches and public libraries in order to educate the general public about the condition of refugees. Community events such as the International Day of Peace, International Women’s Day and the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty discussed human rights awareness and education, empowerment of refugees and discrimination in immigrant communities. These community workshops achieved several goals. We informed newly arrived refugees about resources available to them in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the United States. Also, we educated the local Las Vegas community about the severity of the worldwide refugee crises. Finally, we facilitated communication between the established local population and the nascent refugee community. Since 2009, RAN has managed the Refugee Village, to continue conducting educational outreach and providing social services from a static location in order to best fulfill the RAN’s core mission. The Refugee Village provides multi-dimensional services to meet the needs of refugees residing in Nevada these services include, but are not limited to: client management, employment and career services, translation and interpretation, food distribution, and driver education.
Since moving to Washington, DC in 2015, RAN has expanded its work to include political advocacy on the behalf of refugees, especially LGBTQ refugees. We have worked closely with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR Washington Office) and other partners since 2013 to raise awareness amongst government officials and policy makers about issues impacting the resettlement and integration of refugees. RAN has been instrumental in convening meetings and discussions among different organizations at the regional and national level who work with and serve refugees. These efforts have been aimed at building bridges between social service and advocacy so that refugees receive appropriate assistance, have their rights respected, and improve their integration into the United States.