Omar Bah

Omar Bah
Location: Providence , Rhode Island Cohort Start Year: 2019 Project Topics: Employment, Immigrants and Refugees, Leadership Development, Public Policy, Public, Population and Community Health, Social Sector/Non-Profit, Violence and Trauma Population Served: Immigrants and Refugees
Founder and Executive Director
Refugee Dream Center

Omar Bah’s focus area is refugees and their support needs in integrating into American society—for self-sufficiency, for preservation of their life and cultural identities, and for addressing cultural barriers to accessing and seeking health and mental services.

Omar is an ardent advocate of refugee rights. He derives his motivation from his experience as a journalist who was exiled from his home country, the Republic of The Gambia, forcing him to relocate to Ghana. When the U.S. government resettled him in Rhode Island as a refugee in May 2007, he began to realize that there was more work that needed to be done beyond his initial work in journalism. He was experiencing trauma and loneliness as he was the only refugee from his native country residing in Rhode Island at that time. He had no connection to the wider Gambian immigrant community. This, and his lack of preparation to live in a completely new place, together created a sense of urgency to find solutions and catapulted him into refugee community leadership. He became a recognizable voice in refugee advocacy both in Rhode Island and across the country. This culminated in his founding of the Refugee Dream Center, which combines advocacy with direct services for refugees to meet their English language, health promotion, youth mentoring, and case management needs.

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