ORIS’s multi-lingual staff deploy into the ethnic communities they both live in and serve. ORIS focuses on recruiting staff at all levels that represent the New American Communities in the cities we serve.
Today, ORIS’s staff represent 8 different nationalities and speak a combined 16 languages. ORIS’s 7 member Board of Directors is entirely composed of refugees, immigrants, and first-generation Americans. ORIS is an ethnic community-based organization, with 90% of the staff and board reflecting the ethnicities of the communities that we serve.
Mukhtar has led ORIS since its inception in 2005. In this role he harnesses the needs, skills, and dreams of the clients, board, staff, and partner agencies that make up ORIS, to guide the organization along a path true to the community it serves. A native of Somalia, Mr. Idhow attended secondary school in Kenya and worked as the Farm Training Coordinator for the non-profit organization GT2, where he trained refugee camp residents on basic crop production. In the U.S., Mr. Idhow worked as an interpreter for the Manchester Community Health Center and for Southern New Hampshire Services before founding the Somali Bantu Community Association.
Alaq was born and raised in Baghdad where she studied English Language and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 2008. Following that, Alaq worked for various international non-profit organizations and diplomatic missions for about 12 years. Her focus was supporting Internally Displaced Persons, returnees, and other vulnerable communities through economic opportunities and different social, educational reintegration projects. Alaq joined ORIS as Bilingual Case Manager in 2022.
Touria graduated from Moulay Ismail University in Morocco. In 2001, and after working for the American Peace Corps Organization, Touria moved to the United States where she started a new career as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and their children at the International Women’s House in Georgia. In 2008, she moved with her family to New Hampshire where she started working at the YWCA, as a culturally specific advocate until 2018. At ORIS, Touria continues to serve refugee and immigrant communities as Case Manager, Advocate, and in her new position as Healthy Families Program Manager.
Zach plays an essential role at the Fresh Start Food Hub and is responsible for receiving and packaging produce, packing FarmShare and food access boxes, delivering products to customers, and managing inventory and Food Hub logistics. Zach brings a great deal of experience in grocery/retail, merchandising, and customer service to the team.
Emily Filiano joined ORIS in 2022 as Program Design Manager. Emily is responsible for guiding ORIS’s programs through the design life-cycle. She collaborates with staff to plan new programs, establish systems for effective operation, and ensure that programs align with ORIS’s mission, and uphold the integrity of its service model. Emily has a strong background of work with immigrant and refugee communities, and is a qualified medical interpreter. Emily earned a Masters Degree in Social Work at Boston College, where she specialized in Macro Practice, received a certificate in Policy and Community Organizing, and was a member of the Latinx Leadership Initiative. Emily is passionate about racial and cultural equity, and dedicated to promoting human dignity through sustainable systems change.
Jamal Joined ORIS in 2022 as the Employment Placement Specialist for Worcester MA. Jamal currently attends Quinsigamond Community College majoring in Business Administration. Jamal comes from a refugee family and understands the challenges newcomers face. He has been assisting refugees in the Worcester community and is dedicated to making the transition easier in whatever way he is able to.
Yazan Haimur is from the Middle East, specifically Jordan. He joined ORIS in 2023 as the Finance and Human Resources Coordinator and is responsible for carrying out critical finance and human resources functions. He conducts research and develops creative solutions to maintain effective and efficient operations across all programs and staff. Yazan has a background in business management and holds a master’s degree in Business Management (MBA) from Southern New Hampshire University, with a specialization in finance. In the United States, Mr. Haimur previously worked as a procurement assistant at Southern New Hampshire University and as a community health worker (CHW) for the Manchester Health Department before joining ORIS.
Azizi’s great passion is to support those who have gone through traumatic/difficult experiences and face barriers carrying out daily activities. Hamayuon Azizi is a Bilingual Case Manager for ORIS in Worcester. At ORIS, he helps his clients, including adults and families, find solutions to their obstacles, and empowers them to live their lives self-sufficiently. Azizi spent 7 years working with the Afghan government and accomplished many projects successfully. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Azizi also helps Afghans socialize with their new community in the US.
Savitri joined ORIS in February 2023 as the Food Access Manager. She manages the Fresh Start Mobile Market, Healthy Corners program, and the Community Ambassador program. Savitri earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut with a focus in community organizing, and is passionate about immigrant rights, climate justice, racial justice, and health equity. From 2018-2021, she served as the Diversity Awareness Committee Chair for NASW NH and in 2020, she co-founded the BIPOC Social Workers of Northern New England affinity group. In her free time, Savitri enjoys creative writing and her first published short story can be read here.
Wyatt joined ORIS in 2023 as Training and Technical Assistance Manager for the New American Sustainable Agriculture Program (NASAP). Wyatt is responsible for providing educational opportunities for farmers on mixed vegetable and fruit production, sales, business and financial management, and food safety techniques with a focus on climate smart practices. Wyatt graduated from Johnson & Wales with a Bachelors in Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship and is passionate about having a positive impact on his community and promoting NH food systems. He hopes to expand his knowledge of sustainable agriculture through experience with the immigrant and refugee farmers. In his free time, Wyatt enjoys cooking, being outside, and hanging out with his cat Mushu.
Derrick is from Liberia, West Africa. Derrick has earned a master’s degree in International Development with concentration in Refugees Forced Migration Development from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Derrick worked with the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) in Worcester as the R&P Lead Case Manager and the Office Manager from 2016 to 2022. Derrick also worked as the Project Manager for the Ukrainian Humanitarian Parole (UHP) and Cuban-Haitian Entry(CHE) program throughout 2022. Derrick joined ORIS in 2022 as Resettlement Program Manager at the Worcester location.
Since joining ORIS in May 2023 as a bilingual case manager and advocate, Brenda has consistently provided vital support to our community members. With a foundation in nursing, she seamlessly blends her professional background with a profound sense of empathy and compassion. Brenda’s ability to communicate seamlessly in two languages, French and Lingala, paired with her innate kindness and exceptional listening skills, ensures that every individual she assists feels understood and valued. As she looks ahead, Brenda is passionate about expanding her positive impact and fostering deeper connections through her role at ORIS.
Fakherah joined ORIS in Feb 2023 as a bilingual case manager specializing in Afghan case management and empowerment program in Worcester. She is from Afghanistan. Fakherah earned her master’s degree in law from Necmettin Erbakan University in Konya, Turkey. Fakherah worked as a defense lawyer in the German International Organization. Fakherah is the founder of an organization in Afghanistan named Afghan sisters’ Legal Organization which focuses on providing legal resources for the Afghan community.
Teta joined ORIS in 2023 as the Match Grant Coordinator for Worcester MA. Prior to joining ORIS, Teta worked at Ascentria Care Alliance for two years as a Case manager for individuals who face physical challenges. Teta graduated from Worcester State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Public Health and Urban Studies. Teta came to this country as a refugee and understands the challenges refugees face in resettlement in the U.S. She is very happy to be able to help individuals like herself.
Originally a civil engineer in Afghanistan, Zarif later transitioned into a role as an assembler before joining the team at ORIS in Worcester. Beyond his professional life, Zarif is passionate about a range of hobbies. He enjoys immersing himself in books, staying active through workouts, hiking, and swimming. Camping allows him to connect with nature and unwind from the demands of everyday life. He is proficient in three languages: English, Dari (Farsi), and Pashto. Zarif looks forward to this new chapter of his career.
Beth joined ORIS in 2023; she previously worked as a learning and development coach for new employees at a Fortune 500 company. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Colorado State University, where she volunteered over 300 hours and was a recipient of an Americorps Award in education. Her hobbies include reading, pet sitting, and traveling. In addition to exploring New England, and her former home state of Florida, with its tropical climate and unique wildlife, she has traveled to 7 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia. She is excited to transition to the nonprofit sector and to help new Americans flourish and become self-sufficient.
Peg Prolman joined ORIS in the fall of 2021. After working in education for over 25 years, she was hired as the Farm to School Coordinator to bring together all of the Manchester and Nashua partners to deliver tailored curriculum and Farm Fresh Friday pizzas to select elementary and middle schools in each district. She has a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Peg also works as a Fresh Start Farms store clerk and food packer.
Emma joined ORIS in 2022 as the Market Development Manager, Emma collaborates with farmers to expand farmers’ direct-to-consumer sales opportunities. She can be found on-farm working on different infrastructure projects and supporting farmers with hands-on crop maintenance. Emma is passionate about creating regenerative food systems through strengthening local networks of farmer collaboration. When not on the farm, Emma enjoys exploring the white mountains, rock climbing, and wheel throwing at the pottery studio!
Minata Toure joined ORIS in 2015 as Marketing Coordinator to support Fresh Start Farms NH, an immigrant and refugee farmer collective. A native of Banfora (Burkina Faso), Minata attended high school and college in Ouagadougou. She is responsible for market coordination and community engagement for Fresh Start Farms NH. She provides on-site technical support to farmer entrepreneurs and fulfillment of high-quality and timely orders of produce, including CSA post-harvest handling.
Marta joined the ORIS team in August of 2022 after a year of living and working abroad in Germany. She assists the Fresh Start Farms team in all things hub-related and brings a wide background of experience within the field of environmental science and sustainable agriculture. She hopes to expand her understanding of sustainable food production by experiencing all points of the food supply chain—from growing to distributing—and dreams of connecting people to the earth through food.
Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Food Hub and is your contact for all things FarmShare. Sarah brings experience in food justice work and sustainable farming to the team, as well as a passion for building food systems where everyone has access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.
Our board of thought leaders, movers, and shakers who form the backbone of the ORIS mission.
MR. MUKHTAR IDHOW
ORIS Executive Director
MR. CRISPIN MILELE
Medical Interpreter at Manchester Community Health Clinic
MS. VICTORIA ADEWUMI
Community Liaison/Public Health Specialist at City of Manchester Health Department
MR. ALI SEKOU
MR. GARETH ORSMOND
Partner, Pierce Atwood
MS. LINA SHAYO
Immigration Lawyer at Mesa Law
MR. FAMOH TOURE
Program Manager at Pinpoint Translations/ International Institute of New England
MS. LEA TUYISABE
Accounting Technician, City of Manchester
MS. MIRANDA REMILLARD
Director of Recruitment, Northwestern Mutual