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Our Refugee Advocates Are Our Most Valuable Assets

Since its foundation in 2001, Nile Sisters Development Initiative ( NSDI ) has made it a priority to involve stakeholders. Our staff is a genuine reflection of this goal.

Rebecca Paida, Senior Program Manager

Rebecca Paida is a senior program manager for Nile Sisters Development Initiative, San Diego, California.A former refugee, Rebecca is intimately aware of health disparities, as well as social and economic challenges one faces when relocating to a new community. This experience fuels her passion for service to underrepresented populations.

Rebecca is an alumna of San Diego State University, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in public administration with a minor in Africana studies. From Loma Linda University, she achieved a master’s degree in public health with emphasis in health education. She is a certified health education specialist and holds a certificate of nonprofit management.

Rebecca belongs to several professional organizations, including American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Public Health Association ( APHA  ). She chairs the San Diego Refugee Forum ( 2017—2019 ) and sits on the Community Advisory Board ( CAB ) of the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute ( ACTRI ) at the University of California, San Diego.

As the Nile Sisters Development Initiative senior program manager, Rebecca

  • procures cross-sector grants and other investments to implement NSDI programs
  • oversees NSDI programs.

Danielle White, Health Advocacy Coordinator

Danielle White is a health advocacy coordinator for Nile Sisters Development Initiative, San Diego, California.Inspired by the ideology of social justice, Danielle is an experienced public health professional and native New Yorker. She received her master’s degree in public health from New York Medical College after receiving her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She is accomplished in performing integrated evidence-based research that has led to creation and implementation of health-promotion curricula used by the Westchester County Department of Health. During graduate school, Danielle was an active contributor to an organization devoted to children’s environmental health and was a Robert L. Popper grant winner, based on her work for and publications covering children’s environmental health advisories.

Danielle considers one of her greatest achievements to be the engineering and completion of facility operation plans that resulted in licensure from the Department of Social Services. Danielle now focuses her passion on global health and the refugee community in San Diego.

As the Nile Sisters Development Initiative health advocacy coordinator, Danielle

  • conducts research on and publishes advocacy materials related to health disparities
  • fosters relationships with elected officials and key stakeholders to improve health services and policies
  • oversees the design, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion and education initiatives

Eman Abdulkadir, Refugee Advocate

Eman Abdulkadir is a refugee advocate for Nile Sisters Development Initiative, San Diego, California.Eman emigrated from her birthplace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to San Diego in 2013. Currently, she is a high school senior. She first became passionate about behavioral health and neurology as a result of her personal experiences with family and friends. Eman’s understanding of behavioral health deepened while she interned for Nile Sisters Development Initiative, while she volunteered for Circle of Friends, and as she formed friendships with mentally disabled peers at school. Now she hopes to benefit her immediate community as an advocate.

As the Nile Sisters Development Initiative Refugee Advocate, Eman

  • executes community forums and interactive events to raise awareness of prevalent issues within the refugee and immigrant communities
  • provides culturally proficient services and case management
  • conducts outreach to orient and enroll participants in health literacy and vocational training programs

Patricia Wakhusama, Community Engagement Specialist

Patricia Wakhusama is a community engagement specialist for Nile Sisters Development Initiative, San Diego, California.

A Kenya native, Patricia emigrated to the United States in 2016 to complete coursework toward her master’s degree in peace and justice from the University of San Diego after completing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology from the United States International University in Nairobi. Patricia decided upon her career field after watching her home country edge toward protracted conflict in 2007.

Patricia’s vision is to be a voice and a source of empowerment to marginalized groups. Her extensive volunteer experiences with both individual refugees and with multicultural and multi-location teams during her graduate studies have fueled her passion for social justice, advocacy, and protecting human rights.

As a Nile Sisters Development Initiative Community Engagement Specialist, Patricia

  • engages diverse communities and key stakeholders in tackling issues affecting refugees and immigrants
  • conducts outreach to and enrolls participants in social-adjustment support services
  • provides culturally proficient services and case management

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