The women and men selected for the New Immigrant and Refugee Visions (NIRV) project come from around the world and bring a diversity of backgrounds, skills, interests and community engagement activities related to social and economic justice. We look forward to working with them to visualize the immigrant and refugee experience from their unique insider perspective and to sharing their films with the American public, media, educators and policymakers. Please help us share their powerful stories.
Meet them below and in their own words:
Sayed Hashimi of Afghanistan
Immigrated in 2016, now living in Lynn, MA
I will take the lessons learned in your course and use them to improve my own journalism, keeping a keener eye on our leadership. I believe that as a father and an Afghan it is my duty to become a better editor and journalist to build a better future for all.
Sayed worked for many years as a journalist and translator with the NATO Media Group all over Afghanistan. Sayed has a degree in literature and currently assists his fellow Afghans and immigrants from other countries as a case worker for the New American Center in Lynn.
Mohammed Arifuzzaman of Bangladesh
Immigrated in 2015, now living in Quincy, MA
I come from a storytelling culture in Bangladesh and there are so many stories to tell about immigrants here in America, especially about brown people, Muslims and the effect migration has on child development..
Mohammad is a musician, software engineer and developing filmmaker, with a background in theater. He is eager to explore documentary filmmaking “to share the real life experience and story” of immigrants in America.
Qin Li of China
Immigrated in 2015, now living in Revere, MA
My aunt and uncle swam from mainland China to Hong Kong and eventually came to America more than 40 years ago. They ran a successful business, paid their taxes and helped out in their neighborhood for decades before I came. People need to know about the positive contributions made by immigrants.
Qin is a scholar-activist focused on women’s empowerment in rural China and in the city of Revere, with immigrants of all nations through her work with Women Encouraging Empowerment.
Braulio Tellez-Vilches of Cuba
Immigrated in 2016, now living in Boston, MA
I was a Professor and an official in the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs before I sought Asylum. As someone passionate about history, education and social issues, I know that today film is our tool to improve the world and influence public opinion.
Braulio currently works at Logan Airport and volunteers with Catholic Charities and the Irish International Immigrant Center. He wants to use documentary film to educate immigrants and policymakers on how to make the immigrant experience more productive for everyone.
Rafael DeLeon of the Dominican Republic
Immigrated in 2009, now living in Lynn, MA
I will use the skills learned from this training to connect people in my community and to expose those who have not recently immigrated to the realities, challenges and inspiring stories of my community.
Rafael teaches computer literacy at the KIPP Academy Charter School in Lynn, where he first learned English upon arriving in America. He co-founded The Latino Support Network and produces “Camino hacia la Integracion” (Pathways to Integration), a local TV program highlighting the many ways immigrants integrate into American society.
Kebrewosen (Kiki) Densamo of Ethiopia
Immigrated in 2001, now living in Cambridge, MA
It was scary when my family first moved here. It meant, we had to leave everything we knew and start over. I was 13 and didn’t understand. … Film has become an important tool for me, especially when I can use it to help people imagine what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes.
Kiki has a degree in public health and works for the Cambridge Health Alliance. Arriving in the United States in 2001 as a young girl, she has a special understanding of the challenges for youth in migration. She is actively involved with her local cable access station and hopes to use documentary filmmaking to integrate her love of film and her infectious desire to help people.
Wilson Thelimo Louis of Haiti
Immigrated in 2016, now living in Hyde Park, MA
My ultimate goal is to use the power of filmmaking to improve conflict management in society. I have a passion for education and believe that with education all is achievable.
Wilson is a poet, radio host, and community activist with a degree in law and legal sciences and training in journalism and social communication. He helped to found the Haiti National Network of Young Volunteers in Haiti. Since coming to Boston, he hosts a radio show about Haitian culture and volunteers for the Refugee and Immigration Services department of Catholic Charities, helping new immigrants adjust to life in Boston.
Katsyris Rivera-Kientz of Puerto Rico
Arrived in Boston in 2016, now living in East Boston, MA
I believe that documentary film making is an effective way to speak up and show what different communities face in a daily basis. I see this opportunity as a way to create perceptible, empowering and educational tools that lead to social change.
Katsy is a scholar-activist who came to Boston in 2016 to join the Transnational, Cultural and Community Studies program at the University of Massachusetts. She works closely with the Puerto Rican diaspora in America on issues related to Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States.
Abdirahman Abdi of Somalia
Immigrated in 2007, now living in Roxbury, MA
After the Boston Marathon bombing, I became very aware and upset about the misunderstandings between people. People were treating people badly just because of their clothes, especially women wearing hijab, and even looking at anyone who looked or sounded like they were from another country as a threat. … [but] we are all immigrants. … I want to be an innovator in documentary films to make them a stronger force for change.
Abdirahman is a budding photographer and videographer studying media communication and sociology. He came to America as a young boy and has remained active in his local and Somali community. He has volunteered his time and multi-media productions skills to advance the work of the Somali Development Center and the North American Somali Students Union.
Mubarak Muwonge Nsamba of Uganda
Immigrated in 2017, now living in Waltham, MA
When I came to the US, everybody said I must work in health care, as most Ugandans do! But I worked in video production back home! This training will help me continue with my filmmaking and allow me to show to others that there are many ways to do well here.
Mubarak received his degree in forestry, but soon moved into both website design and digital film production and became a production technician in Kampala. He wants to develop his documentary skills to help people see and explore the breadth of opportunities available, which will also help battle stereotypes of immigrants.