Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome Calean!

We are excited to welcome Calean Frye to the Iskashitaa Staff this month! He has just finished his first semester at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and has been working with Iskashitaa through Eller for nearly five months. His main task during these past months were to get refugee made products into local retail stores.

This was a success for Iskashitaa as refugee products are now sold in CRIZMAC and Nurturing Nature, and we are continuing to build partnerships with other local boutiques. He will be helping throughout this summer and hopes to continue supporting Iskashitaa throughout college.

Iskashitaa is excited to work with such wonderful and committed individuals as Calean! If you know of someone who is looking for a part or full time position and has the energy and initiative to work in a non-profit with refugees, please contact us!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A night of FUNdraising

"What a night! As I danced in the night air to a 9-part Congolese band, I felt lucky to have been invited to La Cocina for dinner.

The food was amazing. I enjoyed the best chai tea I've ever had, an eggplant sandwich, and a wonderful bowl of curry. (I might have even ventured back for some soup and a cocktail!) As I ate, I chatted with a few Nepali friends and even won a quilt in the silent auction.

AND when I thought of the money I had spent, I felt good to know that proceeds from my food frenzy and my warm quilt would go to a non-profit that I love."

Did you miss out on the FUNdraiser at La Cocina this month? Don't despair! Iskashitaa will be be celebrating with our friends and supporters at La Cocina on September 27th! Mark the date and check our website for more information!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Perspectives

My name is Danny Mayasich, and this was my fourth semester working with Iskashitaa's HCET team. I continue to grow and learn the more I work with the amazing people who run this organization. From 4-6pm Monday and Wednesday, another University of Arizona undergrad, Amanda, and I taught English as a Second Language to a community of Nepalese refugees at the apartments at 29th st and Alvernon. Our students ranged from grandmothers to grandchildren, fluent English speakers to people who spoke no English at all. It was a different mix every class, and it was a blast.

Our overall goals for the year in the classroom were to aid them in getting around Tucson, expose them to common items and aspects of American life, and most importantly make their transition to this country a bit easier. Our curriculum included a broad range of activities, including board games, card games, puzzles, lectures, writing exercises, oral exercises, trips to the library, and getting out and involved in Tucson. That brings me to the next area of work that Iskashitaa does besides ESL. When we weren’t in the classroom, us teachers were helping out with harvests around Tucson (which ranged from someone’s backyard with a couple trees to a 100+ acre pumpkin farm), culling fruit, making preserves, and juicing. We also spent time with crafts, sewing, and helping out at fairs and festivals where refugees had the opportunity to get out in the community and sell their goods.

Some refugees come here with nothing, and it can be very hard for them to find a job - especially in the current economy. Iskashitaa offers these wonderful people the chance to work with other members of the community and use their skills to get them some.

I love everything about the work that Iskashitaa does, and I have become a much better person because of it. It’s way too easy to take for granted the multitude of blessings I have as a Caucasian American in an upper-middle class family. Mon, Sabitra, Ratna, Sabeka, Samna, Ghana, Bhim, Him, Menuka, Jarna, Arjun, Don, Rogita, and Kirti have given me a new perspective on life, and they have shown me through their smiles and their actions what the true meaning of happiness is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goodbye HCET

After two semesters of working with HCET interns to teach English, we are proud to be saying goodbye to some strong teachers and welcoming 5 new interns for the fall semester. Thank you to our HCET interns for all of their hard work!

To learn more about what the interns learned this semester, please take a look at their final presentation.