asylum seekers


As you may have noticed, many resettlement agencies who focus on refugee acclimation have had to downsize or change gears since 2016.  With the shift of priorities in DC, some resettlement groups have unfortunately closed their doors entirely!  Although we are still active in Orange County and Los Angeles, The Tiyya Foundation was equally affected.  This allowed us the opportunity to pivot our work and focus attention on sustainability.

In January 2018, we hosted a formal audition for Tiyya’s clients with an announcement of our international catering service.  12 clients auditioned and we selected 5 amazing chefs!  Since then, we grew into Los Angeles, hiring 3 more chefs in the LA County area and currently moving into our new kitchen spaces in Little Ethiopia & The Hood Kitchen in Costa Mesa.  

This year has been a journey of redefining our values and our place in the larger discussion of immigration.  Since staffing is currently low, programs such as Family Mentoring / Monthly Diaper Distribution / and Basic Necessities have been put on temporary hold.  We appreciate your understanding!

In order to sustain and redevelop, we have decided to focus our attention on workforce development through our new social enterprise model & expanding our youth programs into College Readiness. Youth programs will be open to former refugee and migrant youth.

 What does that look like?

College Readiness:  Refugee Youth All S.T.A.R.

The Tiyya Foundation will continue our youth programs such as Soccer, Tutoring, Arts, and Recreation with a focus on college readiness.  Tiyya has refined our youth programming to provide educational and college pathways for local refugee youth in partnership with college campuses such as Soka University.

This fall, we are launching activities with a 3-hour College Workshop, led by our friend Munira Ezzeldine M.S., College & Careers Counselor. She will address topics such as (1) Academic planning in high school, (2) CSU, UC & Common Application tips, (3) FAFSA & CSS Profile, and (4) Resources & websites.

Our first College Tour for youth will take place on October 19th, 2019! We plan to provide exposure to all levels of higher education; vocational training, community college, state college, the UC system, and private institutions such as Soka University (in Aliso Viejo, CA). 

During our calendar year, we will invite guest speakers and school counselors to visit the Tiyya office in Santa Ana to provide one-on-one meetings with our program participants.  We will also host gatherings at community centers in Anaheim so families can participate in panel discussions with topics related to their needs:  Job Readiness, Parenting Workshops, Community Baby Showers, and more.


Flavors from Afar

The Tiyya Foundation diversified its resources by launching Flavors from Afar, marshaling the culinary abilities of refugees to build awareness of diverse cultures while supporting their new career path as Chefs. Each program participant prepares food from their own countries at catered events.

Flavors from Afar was recently the winners of the Orange County Community Foundation Social Innovation Award of $50,000. In the past year and a half, we went from a concept in the kitchen to a full-on catering business, which has been featured in media outlets such as Sautee magazine and the Los Angeles Times. We’ve been requested for intimate dinners of just 10 people and a huge gathering of 150 international delegates for the International Visitors Council in Los Angeles.  Alongside Father Gregory Boyle from Homeboy Industries, The Tiyya Foundation had the opportunity to discuss its contribution to the social enterprise culture at the G3X Summit at Cal State Fullerton.

“Your voice added so much to our dialogue about social impact in Orange County. Your story and the story of your organization are an inspiration to us all! “-  Zoot Velasco, August 2019, host of the G3X Summit.


Next Steps, Together

If you would like to support our work in the community, here are some easy ways to stay in touch:

1.       Hire Flavors from Afar’s Chefs for your next work or private gathering

2.       Join us as a Chaperone to college tours and field trips

3.       Visit our office or community spaces to host a workshop

4.       Send us leads to SAT-Prep Programs for low-income families