Did you know that every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, or terror? Across the world, conflicts and disasters are displacing people, causing heartbreak, despair, and generating great amounts of need. On June 20th, the world recognized and shined a spotlight on individuals and groups affected by such issues with World Refugee Day.

At Multiplying Good, we believe service is a solution. A solution to social issues and problems, an avenue to connect us with others and learn from our differences, and an opportunity for personal growth. Over the course of the last several years, many Multiplying Good community members, including youth in our Students In Action program, members of our Think Big Team, and Jefferson Award recipients from across the country, have focused their service on supporting and uplifting refugees and those affected by war and conflict, using their voice to educate, and provide ways for others to get involved and take action for positive social change.

In honor of World Refugee Day, here are a few of their stories.


Dr. Ilham AlMahamid—2021 Jefferson Award Recipient, Albany Times

Dr. Ilham AlMahamid, an immigrant herself, founded New York for Syrian Refugees to help new arrivals find their way and inspire a large group of volunteers to take action. Staffed initially with just her family, she has attracted a diverse group of volunteers in the Capital District to assist 240 individuals with housing, furnishings, medical access, government services, tutoring, job placement, and transportation. One of her extraordinary accomplishments empowering women is through the creation of the refugee women’s catering business Syrian Delights. In five short years, Dr. AlMahamid’s organization has grown to include a Board of Directors, 30 local volunteers, several out-of-state volunteers, interns from UAlbany, and various experts. Dr. AlMahamid is truly a beacon of light for refugee families and volunteers whose lives have been transformed through her love and care.


Shannen Recio—Multiplying Good Think Big Team Member and Co-Founder, New Beginnings

In 2016, Shannen Recio and Sabrina Bojeh recognized the global issue of the refugee crisis and discovered that millions of people are displaced around the world and need help to start a new beginning in a foreign country after being uprooted and displaced from their homes. After wanting to make care packages for refugee families in Kenya and Turkey where refugees from Somalia and Syria were located, Hope Kits was born.

Since 2016, the pair was able to successfully send out hundreds of school supplies, everyday essentials needed in camps, clothing, and hygiene needs, such as pads and first aid kits to refugees around the world.

Shannen shared, “I started New Beginnings and continue to be a refugee advocate because I come from an immigrant family, with very similar struggles of starting in a new country let alone a new life. I moved to the United States from the Philippines when I was around eleven years old, this was a difficult experience for me because I had to learn English and how the American education system worked! My family and I empathize with refugees and their goal to seek a better life and know how hard it is to adapt and be accepted by the community that you are settling in especially when you only have limited resources.”


An-Noor Academy - Multiplying Good SIA Team, New Jersey

The recent escalation of the conflict between Palestine and Israel has resulted in a range of humanitarian crises in the region that have had a disproportionate impact on children and families. To help address this issue, the An Noor SIA team worked to organize their community send love and care to the children affected. Partnering with Emaanpower, the team encouraged youth to write and upload letters to Emaanpower’s website, who distributed them on the ground to children in Palestine. The team engaged more than 50 youth in the project. They also encouraged fluent Arabic speakers to volunteer to translate the letters. The team shared, “Palestine is a cause dear to our hearts, the Al Aqsa Mosque is the second holiest site for Muslims. It was breaking our hearts reading and watching the news how innocent children are being made homeless and bombs are killing so many civilians. We wanted to do something to help and partnered with Emaanpower in their letters of hope project- children wrote letters to Palestinian children to let them know that they were not suffering alone and that emotionally and spiritually we were with them.” -- Rahma Rizly and Khadijah Mateen An Noor SIA Presidents.


Sadiya Omar—2016 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities and local Jefferson Award Recipient, WHEC-TV, News10NBC

Sadiya Omar has 25 years of experience as a refugee educator, advocate, and case manager–first in refugee camps abroad, and later in Rochester, NY. She was a founding director of the Somali Community of Western New York (SCWNY) and guided the organization’s growth to become Refugees Helping Refugees, an organization that serves refugees of all backgrounds.


Individuals and groups across Multiplying Good's network planned and facilitated service work that helped empower, educate, and engage others in learning and action to address the impact of conflict and disaster. On World Refugee Day, we celebrate and recognize their work and share their stories to inspire others to get engaged.