Transcript of 2022 Awardee Sienna Nazarian Video

2022 Awardee Sienna Nazarian Video


I am the daughter and granddaughter of refugees. I grew up hearing stories about how my father and my grandparents had to flee Iran due to religious persecution because they were Jewish. They left their home, they left their lives. All they really brought with them was family.

Hearing all these stories and growing up with this history created a sense of empathy that really motivated me to do this work. The Refugee Empowerment Project’s mission is to provide a space for teens to directly serve refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers.

We have global ambassadors in eight different countries. The resettlement process can often be really overwhelming with a lot of cultural, language and employment barriers.

We have volunteers introduce them to the communities in which they’ll be living, collect and distribute clothing items, school supplies, backpacks, and one of our biggest programs is our mentorship program in which refugees have the chance to learn English from a teenage mentor.

This work has connected me back to my own history, but has also allowed me to make really meaningful connections to refugees local to me and across the globe.