Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC)

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Mission & Vision

Our Core Values

Meet Our Staff


We celebrate 30 years of RIAC.

Welcome to RIAC! Since 1993, we’ve been empowering refugees and immigrants in Boston, Lynn, and Worcester. Formerly the Somali Women And Children’s Association, RIAC proudly celebrates 30 years of service.

As a grassroots non-profit, we offer comprehensive support, including refugee resettlement, counseling, outreach, education, and various social services. We’re all about fostering cultural development, socioeconomic growth, and self-sufficiency.

At RIAC, our mission is simple: For Refugees, By Refugees. We’re committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment, working hand in hand to build a stronger, more inclusive community. Join us on this journey of empowerment and inclusivity at RIAC, where every story contributes to our diverse and vibrant community.

Our Mission

At RIAC, our mission is simple yet powerful: to provide comprehensive services that support successful resettlement and promote self-sufficiency within the refugee and immigrant community. We are committed to creating a more inclusive society where newcomers can thrive, regardless of their background or origin.

Our Vision

At Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), we strive to promote acceptance and enhance the quality of life for refugees, asylees, and immigrants. Our vision is to create a society that embraces newcomers, celebrates diversity, and provides equal opportunity for all to thrive.

Our Core Values

At the heart of RIAC are its Core Values, which serve as the fundamental principles and ideals the agency strives to uphold and be accountable for in carrying out its mission.

These values also influence the agency's culture and public image as a community-based non-profit organization serving refugees, asylees, and immigrants in Massachusetts.


RIAC demonstrates compassionate support, service, and concern for refugees, asylees, and immigrants and their families. As part of this caring attitude, it will educate and inform the population groups it serves and their families.


RIAC understands that refugees, asylees, and immigrants are part of all races, ethnicities, and religions and seeks to assist as many individuals as its financial resources allow.


RIAC educates the public and advocates for the long-term inclusion and participation of refugees, asylees, immigrants, and their families.

Financial stability

RIAC believes its work as an advocate and service provider will be necessary for many years into the future. Therefore, it strives to deliver on its mission with thoughtful strategic choices that ensure it has sufficient financial resources.

Meet our Team


Mariam Gas

Executive Director & Founder

Dr. Jean Wilkinson, PhD

Chief Clinical Operations Officer

Dr. Lisa Fortuna, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Sadia Fadil

Chief Resettlement & Integration Officer

Anab Egal

Director of Finance & Administration

Naima Agalab

Director of Community Services

Resettlement & Integration (Boston Office)

Frank Barnabas

Program Director

Abdul Yusuf

Program Officer

Ayan Warfa

Program & Development Officer

Nihad Jassam

Program Officer

Olena Bokhenik

Program Officer

Nataliia Durnieva

Program Coordinator

Sheema Kharooti

Program Coordinator

Mariia Pohoretska

Program Coordinator

Abdikareem Egal

Case Specialist

Asma Kharooti

Case Specialist

Resettlement & Integration (Worcester Office)

Meg Gallo

Program Director

Heinrich Mukalazi

Program Officer

Emal Khairkhwa

Program Coordinator

Liona Ngaira

Program Coordinator

Murad Ali Zada

Program Coordinator

Shukri Ali

Program Coordinator

Oleksandr Martseniuk

Case Specialist

Mohammad Palizban

Case Specialist

Oleksandra Koada

Case Specialist

Nicole Okonji

Case Specialist

Community Services & Advocacy

Fatuma Hassan

Program Coordinator

Shafi Ratea

Case Specialist

Abdul Wahed Safi

Case Specialist

Atia Walizada

Program Liaison/ Advocate

Mental Health Clinic

Dr. Alisa Miller, PhD

Clinic Supervisor

Maka Osman

Program Director

Carmel Drewes, LICSW

Program Officer

Sarah Bansen, NP

Nurse Practitioner

Hessah Al-Asousi

Clinical Intern

Administration & Finance

Shawnette Foote

Administrative Officer

Abdi Aden

Financial Officer

Ahmed Al-Rubaye

Financial Officer

Mohamed Mohamed

Financial Coordinator

Aklilu Haile

Financial Specialist

Alexander Le

Financial Specialist

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