Patrick Masoya came to Arizona almost 20 years ago as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has proudly made Arizona his home ever since. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is the embodiment of the American dream in action. Patrick is a graduate of Western International University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, holds an MBA in finance from Grand Canyon University, and a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Colorado Denver. He has a solid background in Finance, Taxation, Accounting, and business that our community and organization needs. Having worked as a Senior processor for a Scottsdale insurance company before serving as a revenue auditor for the Arizona Department of Insurance. He is currently a partner at a tax and accounting firm and a Board Council member at the national small business association(NSBA). Patrick’s community engagement and servant leadership have spanned his lifetime. It is this personal pledge to servant leadership that has fueled his philanthropic ventures.
Muktar Sheikh is a former refugee from Somalia and a member of the Somali Association of Arizona. For the last 10 years, he has been a social reform organizer that advocates opportunities and resources for underserved communities. He has leadership experiences in Community Engagement, Social Services, Education, and Healthcare. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Art in Education and a Master of Sustainability Leadership in Social Development.
Jabir Algarawi came to the United States in 1993 as a refugee from Iraq. For several years he volunteered his time helping others from his homeland adapting to their new country. In 2000, with a grant from the Federal Government, he opened the first Iraqi Refugee Center. As Founder and Director of the Arizona Refugee Community Center, he established various opportunities to empower refugees, such as English and Citizenship Classes, Women’s and Youth Groups. In 2003 and then again in 2005 he returned to Iraq to work for USAID local governance and democracy project serving as a Civilian worker.
Abdel Mohamdian came to the United States from Sudan. He is one of the founders of RICE. He has been active in helping with center activities. In 2010, he created the Sudanese American Association in Phoenix (SAA) where he was elected President. The SAA helped translate doctor appointments and job interviews helped refugees with disabilities and organized social events for the community. Before coming to the U.S. Abdel studied in Iraq receiving a Bachelor of Science from the University of Bagdad. He also received his Evaluation of International Educational Credentials, Technician Diploma in Store Management – Institute of Technology Mosul, Iraq, and Teaching Certificate from UNICEF. In 2003 he taught primary Education in a refugee camp for K-12. In Phoenix, AZ he worked at PetSmart Distribution Center as an Auditor-Inventory Control.
Samah Alhbal graduated from Damascus University with a degree in Education. She came to the United States from Syria with her husband and two boys. In San Diego, CA she worked in the Health and Human Services Agency developing resettlement and self-sufficiency plans for clients. In 2016 she started volunteering at Arizona All Nation Refugee Recourse Center providing refugee clients basic tools necessary to meet their goals of becoming self-sufficient in their new community. In October 2017 she was asked to join the board of directors of Refugees and Immigrants Community for Empowerment (RICE) as the Treasurer. Since then she has been active in helping with center projects.
Natalya Brown has a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies and International Relations from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating, she volunteered in Suchitoto, El Salvador for three months, teaching English and basic computer skills to locals. She then moved to Zhuhai, China where she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at United International College. Upon moving to Arizona in 2016, Natalya was looking for ways to stay in touch with the international community and discovered Phoenix Sister Cities. She now has leadership roles on the Chengdu, China committee, and Suwon, South Korea committees and looks forward to working with her fellow RICE Board members to ensure refugee and immigrant communities in Arizona have an abundance of resources and support.
Nkonko Yves Mutamba
Nkonko Yves Mutamba was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and grew up in the town of Lubumbashi, Katanga. In 1989, he came to the United States to pursue higher education. He obtained both his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and his Master’s degree in Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. Nkonko is a dedicated scientist with strong and analytical skills. He currently worked for BASF as a Research & Development Specialist III in the development of new cotton varieties for the U.S. market as well as the Mediterranean market.
Dominic Braham has worked locally and internationally, developing and implementing strategies to help communities gain economic empowerment through innovative initiatives. Dominic served as a Peace Corps advisor in the Dominican Republic for over two years, leading sustainable projects. Currently, he is a member of Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy (REAP), a group of African American males who give financial support with active involvement in the distribution of funds. He is also a faculty associate at Arizona State University’s School of Public Services and Community Solutions where he teaches cross-sector leadership and design thinking.
Seraphine Aziza was born and raised in the Democratic-Republic of Congo, graduated from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor’s degree in Government with an emphasis in Legal Studies with a minor in General Business. Sera has volunteered at Refugees and Immigrant organizations with global outreach from Grand Canyon. Currently, Sera has been working as a public relation of UYA (United African Youth) which is an organization that helps empower the African diaspora.
Lena was born in Morocco, came to the United States as an Immigrant. Graduated from a University in Morocco with a degree in Economics. Currently, she dedicates herself to working with other Refugees and Immigrants at RICE. Her mission is to help build and empower the community. Lena speaks four different languages Spanish, French, English, and Arabic. She has worked as a travel agent at an Airport in Chicago. Along the way, she started her own travel agency in Chicago.