It started with one volunteer, Owliya Dima. She arrived in Orange County as a refugee from East Africa in the early 80s and identified a gap in her community. Owliya worked tirelessly to provide community support to local refugees throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. In 2010, she and her daughter, Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, devoted their efforts to establish The Tiyya Foundation (Meymuna’s thesis project in grad school). Owliya’s hard work transitioned from handwritten notes on napkins at her kitchen table into a vibrant nonprofit organization. Today, over 100 volunteers each year, replicate her same efforts to help local families starting over.
In the past 7 years, Tiyya has grown to address a variety of needs faced by displaced families. Between January - December 2017, we were provided 6,035 boxes of diapers to babies; developed relationships between Tiyya's 162 volunteers and our 793 refugee and immigrant program participants; provided back to school supplies to 350 youth; remodeled our office to serve as a therapeutic space for clients to feel more welcomed; and hosted our first end of the year campaign. All of this was made possible through the 5,055 hours donated by our Friends!
With the theme of Standing Together, Stronger Together - coined by our volunteer, Soha Yassine, our goal was to create an awareness and mobilize our community members who believe that we are stronger when we stand together. Participation took many forms. Friends of Tiyya purchased a "We Share The Sky" shirt, shared personal stories online, experienced an intimate celebration at our Holiday Party with dinner crafted by our artisan chefs, and helped raise $50,312 to sustain our youth and family programs!
We invite you to join and to continue to support our community this year. With your involvement, our goal in 2018 is to support a total of 400 households within Orange County and Los Angeles! Thank you all for welcoming local refugees and ensuring that Tiyya will continue to support our new neighbors on their paths to inclusion and economic self-sufficiency.
And - a special thank you to Owliya Dima for allowing us this opportunity to give back in a meaningful way.