The Havenly Fellowship

Helping refugee and immigrant women find a job and community

The Havenly fellowship is a 6-month training program that combines work experience at our cafe with education and community activities to develop a community of leaders with a shared vision and purpose, and the economic stability they need to support themselves and their communities. 

This project is supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0128 awarded to the State of Connecticut by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

In the United States


of refugee and immigrant women are unemployed


of refugee households make a living wage


of refugees attend a job training program

Our founder, Nieda, ran three food businesses in Iraq and has a degree in business management, but in New Haven, she struggled to find a job.

With such a busy job, Nieda never got the opportunity to attend the English classes and education she needed to get a better job. 

Refugees resettled to the US are expected to find a job and get off cash assistance in 90 days.

For most, and women with limited education especially, that is not enough time to learn English and get the education needed to get a good job. As a result, most refugee and immigrant women accept a survival job - dead end jobs or work opportunities that leave no time for education, personal improvement or civic engagement. 

4 out of 5 refugees who accept a survival job are still in them five years later. 

The Havenly Fellowship

Our Impact


refugee and immigrant women trained and graduated


of graduates secured a job


average starting salary of graduates

to help refugee and immigrant women make their future and community a priority 


Fellows get 15 hours a week of work experience at the Havenly cafe, learning to work in a commercial kitchen, serve customers, and more 


Fellows attend approximately 100 hours of paid classes, covering English, digital literacy, financial literacy, food safety, and professional readiness. They also receive 1-1 career coaching, and are paired with employment placements after graduation. 


Through our ESL modules, fellows are exposed to stories of organizers across the US, all while obtaining the skills - and language - they need to identify, analyze, and take action against injustice. Participants meet local organizers, power map, and learn the material language of social participation - whether that be the English word for voting, or the minimum wage in their city. 


Fellows build trust and lasting friendships by working together and participating in social events and wellness classes with art, dance, and music acitivities. We aim at healing through individual and collective transformation. Together, fellows begin developing confidence in their ability to change their own lives, and the lives of their communities.

Where are our alumni now?

Meet the women of Havenly!