Friday, November 18, 2016

ISKASHITAA REFUGEE NETWORK Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Information assembled by Isabel Rodriguez, Iskashitaa Nutrition Intern

Common name: Pomegranate
Scientific name: Punica granatum L.

Origins: The pomegranate first grew in Iran (previously known as Persia) and the Himalayas, then traveled to India and Southeast Asia where it was cultivated and harvested. The pomegranate was then imported by Spanish settlers to California in the late 1700's.

Cultural Importance: Some cultures, including Buddhist and Jewish, refer to the pomegranate as a sort of apple. The significance of the fruit was beyond that of a food - it was a symbol. A pomegranate would symbolize strength, marriage, or eternal life in some cultures. Pomegranates were considered a blessed fruit by the Buddha, and in India they consider the fruit as a symbol of good wealth.

Food Uses: People began using the pomegranate as a source of food, but there are other uses as well. In Ancient Egypt, they used the juice from the fruit to make medicine that would kill bacteria, and used the crushed blossom as red dye. Now, the pomegranate is easily accessible to anyone and many people are consuming the seeds raw or in juice or syrup form. Other uses include using the fruit in natural remedies to cure ailments such as diarrhea or mouth ulcers.  

Health Benefits/Warnings

Pomegranates are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help support the immune system. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help to prevent heart disease. Some warnings could include not to consume pomegranates if you are allergic or to limit consumption as too much of the fruit could cause extremely low blood pressure (if already taking high blood pressure medication).
Spread the Word, Share the Surplus
By Michaele Pepe

David recently had a surplus problem. He was troubled about all the limes that would go to waste if he didn’t find help to harvest them. “We’ve had this lime tree for 20 years and this was the first time it has produced fruit, and we didn’t know what to do with all of it.” He was relieved to learn from a friend of a friend about Iskashitaa, and how it helps homeowners like him who also have the fortunate problem of overabundance. David then simply called Iskashitaa and scheduled a harvest, transforming his surplus into a gift.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool for a non-profit like Iskashitaa. The organization has used other forms of getting the word out about reducing food waste and giving support to newly arrived refugees as well, like being featured on the local public broadcasting station, KUAZ earlier this year.
Because of word of mouth, twenty-six pounds of limes were saved and David and his wife were spared the trouble of picking them. “At our age, we can’t get around to pick all of our citrus fruit anymore.” He went on to say how he would welcome Iskashitaa volunteers back in the winter when his oranges were ripe. David won’t be the only one, though. Often during the winter months, Iskashitaa has such an abundance of citrus gleaning opportunities, that they don’t have enough volunteers to keep up.

Iskashitaa relies on having adequate volunteers, refugee and non-refugee alike, to redistribute the remarkable resource of local produce to refugees or other underserved populations. Two of these regular volunteers are Amelia and Emily, who are designated harvest leaders. Harvest leaders help organize and manage weekly harvest trips for volunteers to private residences or organizations such as the University of Arizona.

Jasoda, another frequent harvest volunteer, is a former refugee from Bhutan. She and other refugees further work with Iskashitaa staff in post-harvest activities to learn important job skills, while at the same time becoming more involved in the Tucson community. For instance, the gift of limes from David’s house could go on to be featured in workshops, where Jasoda learns, or even teaches, food preparation and preservation. The products of these workshops could then go on to be sold at a farmer’s market.

Do you know anyone who cultivates a surplus of fruits or vegetables? Or anyone who wonders how they can assist the global refugee situation at a local level?  Tell them about Iskashitaa. With your help to spread the word, Iskashitaa and the Tucson community can welcome refugees through something that unites us all: food. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Buthania and her husband are refugees form Iraq. They have 4 kids and Buthania is expecting her 5th in about 2 weeks. She is looking for a car seat and a stroller. Can anybody help? If you are able to help, please email to with the subject line: BUTHANIA. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nearly 59,5 million people around the world are uprooted from their homes and communities by persecution and armed conflict. These refugees’ loss is incalculable: they may lose their home, livelihood, safety, belongings, or family. Currently, less than one percent of these refugees are resettled to a permanent home. Upon arrival, the success of these lucky families depend on the welcome they receive from their new community.  Today’s refugees are often met with indifference, bureaucratic obstacles, and suspicion. Refugees have traveled great distances under terrible circumstances and deserve to be treated with compassion.  They come seeking those same rights our forebears sought: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Iskashitaa hopes to make this vision of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness a reality for Tucson’s refugees.  Please take the time to learn more about Iskashitaa. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Thank you so much for this wonderful experience working for Iskashitaa. I have learned so much during my time here this semester and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work for such an amazing organization. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and the rest of the Iskashitaa staff. You are all such kind and inspiring people, and I have genuinely enjoyed my time here. I think it is great what you all do to help the local refugees and eliminate food waste and I believe the organization is helping the community in so many ways. If you all ever need extra hands after January, I would be so happy to come back.

Once again, Thank you for this amazing opportunity."

Rachel Park

"Dear Barbara and William,

... You are both some of the one of the warmest, most generous people I have ever known. I don't even know hot to begin to thank you for all that you have done for me over the course of the past year and a half. From the moment I arrived in Tucson, you opened your arms, your home and your hearts to me I was in a new place and knew no one but I never felt lost or alone. You became my family, my Tucson parents. I want you to know how much you both mean to e and how grateful I am for everything you have done for me. There is so much I admire about each of you- you have had a huge impact of my life and have left an imprint on my heart :)

Thank you!

Lots of Iskashitaa love,



 No freedom in Sudan, No Freedom in Chad written by Leishara Ward tells the story of Adam and Dar es Salam Abubakar, Mahamoud and Khadija Isaak, Yaya Daoud and Fatima Ibrahim.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Iskashitaa is participating in the Arizona Gives Day ,a state-wide fundraiser for Arizona non-profits. Please help us get the word out! We are eligible for up to $15,000 in prizes for the most dollars raised by a small non-profit.

ANY donation amount will help! We survive with your donations! Help us help refugees and prevent food waste in Tucson. 
It is today and April 5th we need your support the most! Please share, invite your friends, and donate! 
Kuntz Foundation gave us matching funds for $1000 as well so your dollars will be doubled thanks to Kuntz Foundation! 
If you donate to us or to any non profit today, then you are invited to The Rialto Theatre/Tucson, Arizona on April 5th to a big party where you will see the Run Boy Run. The party is for donors and non-profits who participated in AZ GIVES DAY campaign. It will start at 5PM. KXCI will also give-away tickets to see Adele at her sold-out concert in August.

Friday, April 1, 2016

I always found the name false which they gave us: Emigrants.
That means those who leave their country. But we
Did not leave, of our own free will
Choosing another land. Nor did we enter
Into a land, to stay there, if possible for ever.
Merely, we fled. We are driven out, banned.
Not a home, but an exile, shall the land be that took us in.
Restlessly we wait thus, as near as we can to the frontier
Awaiting the day of return, every smallest alteration
Observing beyond the boundary, zealously asking
Every arrival, forgetting nothing and giving up nothing
And also not forgiving anything which happened, forgiving nothing
Ah, the silence of the Sound does not deceive us! We hear the shrieks
From their camp even here. Yes we ourselves
Are almost like the rumors of crimes, which escaped over the frontier. Every one of us
Who with torn shoes walks through the crowd
bears witness to the shame which not defiles our land.
But none of us
Will stay here. The final word 
Is yet unspoken.
Bertolt Brecht
ISKASHITAA needs your support on AZ GIVES DAY.
You can watch our promotional video here:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


We survive on your donations! 

"I go by the name Asha Adam from Sudan. I was born in western, Sudan, in a beautiful village called Bare Korobo in Morenge. At age 11, I was a refugee in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya for eight years. I went to Catalina Magnet High and studied hard after missing years of my education as a senior. I am the first girl generation to go to college. I have a dream of being a pilot, lawyer or working as a social worker. I love to work with the refugees like Barbara whose work inspired me. ISKASHITAA helped me with several scholarships." Asha Adam, Sudan.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dear Iskashitaans,We are so happy to see how you support us!We reached $2351 with generous supports of our donors! We have $27649 to go until midnight, April 5th. We believe we can do it with your support!HELP US HELP REFUGEES AND PREVENT FOOD WASTE IN TUCSON!


"There are many places in Tucson to help refugees, but Iskashitaa is the only place I know, if the get the case, they will finish it. I have known Iskashitaa for over five years. They help and advocate the rights for a community that has little voice and high needs. Iskashitaa helps us in many ways, such as legal, medical and social services. Their courage and positive leadership help us overcome our struggles." Shara Hirsi, Somalia

Friday, March 25, 2016

We are excited at Iskashitaa, because Mark Bishop, host of Mi Casa Es Su Casa on KVOI The Voice; AM 1030 at 10am Saturdays, will mention Iskashitaa on and its goal on AZ GIVES DAY campaign this Saturday, March 26th between 10 am -11 am.

We thank Mark Bishop for his support to help us spread the word. You can help us spread the word by sharing our message with your friends and family as well!

Or you can donate:


10 DAYS left to reach our goal in AZ GiVES DAY.

Help us help refugees and keep working on our food waste prevention projects. 

We need volunteers to help us make phone calls today and next week between Monday and Friday. If you are interested, then come to our office today until 5pm. 

1406 E. Grant RoadTucson, AZ 85719

If you like, you can call for us from the comfort of your home. Email us at:   tucsonrefugees@gmail.comIf you cannot do either of these things,  you can always donate!  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Count Down: 11 Days left  to reach our goal of $30,000 in AZ Gives Day.

"Iskashitaa found a job for my daughter and for me. They found a job for me as a security guard. Now I want to give back to Iskashitaa. That is why I am here today. I will help them with their harvest today." Hamed Akar, Iraq

Support us on AZ Gives Day and give now:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Then Iskashitaa came, and I thought, finally, the one I have imagined will come, has come. Then I met volunteers Susan and Bahaman ( Many other volunteers that help my family not just me), and things kept getting better. It made me volunteer. When I won a scholarship I had the opportunity to give a part of the money to a nonprofit- I gave it to Iskashitaa.” Hari Nepal, Bhutan

Iskashitaa needs your support between now and April 5th during this period of Arizona Gives Day to reach our financial goal of $30,000.