About Us

Once upon a time a mother visited her son at University never to return home.

Following the outbreak of the Somali civil war in 1991 and subsequent refugee crisis, Mariam Gas made a new home in Massachusetts. Here she utilized her language skills and cultural expertise to help new refugees navigate American systems. 


Mariam Gas, Executive Director

Our Story


In her free time, Mariam helped support new Somali refugees, teaching them health education, helping them access necessary resources, and slowly building a new Somali-American community in Boston, Massachusetts. 


Mariam founded the Somali Women & Children’s Association, a non-profit dedicated towards helping a large influx of single Somali mother’s integrate into Massachusetts. 


More refugee populations began arriving in Massachusetts, such as Iraqis and other Arabic-speaking individuals. SWC expanded to help refugees from other Muslim countries with similar cultural backgrounds as Somalia. 


We became the Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center, a name that encompasses the diversity of individuals we both serve and work with. RIAC became an official resettlement agency tasked with helping new arrivals from all over the world make a new home in Massachusetts.


30 years of RIAC. 

We celebrate 30 years of RIAC. For Refugees. By Refugees.

For over 30 years, refugees and immigrants have built a new home in Massachusetts through the support and dedication of RIAC and its predecessor. Today, refugees who have long made a home in Massachusetts welcome and support new arrivals at the beginning of their journey.