Our Fellows and Alumni
Started in 2021
Aisha, originally from Darfur, lived in Egypt for several years before moving to New Haven with her five children nine years ago. Since moving, she has worked multiple jobs but has never found the opportunity to take ownership of her own schedule. Aisha works at the Whitney Center as a member of their dining staff, while studying for her GED.
Badria, mother of five, migrated to the U.S. in 2014 after living in Egypt for a few years. Before Egypt, Badria worked on a farm in Sudan growing peanuts, okra, and garlic. Today, Badria dreams of becoming a nurse - a role she believes will allow her to serve her community. She is now a dining associate at Yale New Haven Hospital while she continues her studies.
Jenny is a member of the Semilla Collective, where she organizes for immigrant justice in New Haven. She has a degree and experience in finance and accounting, but has faced obstacles in building a career in the U.S. Jenny wants to create a cooperatively-run daycare with other women in the Havenly community, a place where differences are celebrated. She recently received a degree in business development at Cornell University.
Hana is a mother of three who moved to the United States in 2016. In Syria, Hana worked in a Damascan salon as a hairstylist. But her true passions lie in baking desserts, and Havenly has reinvigorated Hana’s aspirations of becoming a renowned pastry chef in New Haven. Hana is off to a cake styling course after the program.
Sandra is a Guatemalan mother of three who has been living in the United States for five years. In addition to organizing alongside the Semille Collective, Sandra holds a passion for food and cooking quickly made her indispensable in the Havenly kitchen. At present, Sandra is working on building her own food business, Cocina de Sandra, while getting her GED.
Cena grew up on the border of Sudan and Chad in a region called Al Jinena. Today, she lives in New Haven with her son and husband. Cena is a passionate learner, and dreams of continuing her college education here in the U.S. and becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant. She is now a dining associate at Yale New Haven Hospital while she continues her studies.
After living as a refugee in Chad for eleven years, Hawaye moved with her four children to the United States in 2015. A true go-getter, Hawaye studied for her ServSafe examination ahead of the fellowship schedule and passed with flying colors. Hawaye now works at Southern Connecticut University as an associate in their dining hall!
Amna, commonly known in the Havenly community as “Amona,” moved to West Haven from the North of Sudan with her husband and five sons. With limited English, it was difficult for Amona to gain employment. She has been able to break down these barriers during her time at Havenly, and now works at the University of New Haven Dining Services as a baker.
María is a dedicated mother of 3 who came to New Haven by way of Guatemala three years ago. She provides for her family here as well as back in Guatemala, and has a dream to run her own daycare business.
Started in 2020
Amna is a mother of six with a passion for food, and Sudanese food in particular. Havenly was her first job. She speaks French and Arabic as she grew up between Sudan and Chad. Amna hopes to one day open a food cart and is a food service worker at the University of New Haven.
Safa is a mother on a mission to support other mothers through prenatal care and childcare. In Sudan, she ran a center providing services and childcare to early mothers. She studied early childhood development and prenatal care. She is now working at EBJ childcare, and hopes to learn enough to open her own center one day.
Maria has lived in New Haven for over twenty years and always dreamed of opening a business with her husband. She was selected as a venture in the Collab and CitySeed 2020 Food Business Accelerator, and is launching Alegria Cafe, an Italian-Mexican food truck.
Maha is a mother of four on her way to becoming a dentist assistant. She has a degree as a veterinarian in Sudan, but when it was not recognized in the US, she got by through jobs as a homeaid nurse. Maha was recently accepted into a dental assistant program at a community college.
Esmeralda is a single mother of two on her way to a career in nursing. She wants to become a nurse because of how little access immigrants in her community have to health care. She is saving up for nursing school by working as a grocery clerk for a family-owned business.
Kobra is a mother of two raising three kids in New Haven. She studied accounting in Sudan and hopes to work in the food business after she gets another degree in accounting here in the US. Her dream, one day, is to become a member of Congress to advocate for refugees and Muslim Americans. She is now working at the University of New Haven.
Started in 2019
Mutiaa is a mother of three with a strong attention to detail, organizational capacity, and passion for learning. After graduating, Mutiaa began working as a pharmacist assistant. She is building up the hours to become certified as a pharmacy technician.
Mashair is from Sudan, where her and her husband studied law. She has a strong passion for teaching and education, and is working as a warehouse associate at Amazon to save up to go back to school.
Siham has been living in the United States for 22 years with her seven children. Her dream is to own and operate a cultural community center for the Sudanese Community in West Haven and New Haven, of which she has become a leader. Siham works as a baker at the University of New Haven.
Started in 2018
Hala is a mother of four and fierce leader in the Syrian community in New Haven. She gave birth during the fellowship, and a few months later, was hired as a baker at the University of New Haven. Since her hire, Hala has been promoted and began making Syrian desserts for the dining hall. She was also hired as an ambassador for the University Dining Program, helping recruit and train other refugee and immigrant women.
Faten is a mother with a passion for beauty and styling. She was a hair stylist in Syria, and hopes to pursue a career in the beauty sector. She is currently living with her family in Pennsylvania.