To promote the health and well being of African refugee and immigrant women and their families in the Twin City area through research, education, advocacy and programming.
Health and well being as it pertains to African refugee and immigrant women and girls includes the following factors:
- Connected to a social support network versus experiencing isolation
- Affirmation for who they are and what they believe
- Opportunities to build skills, expand options and integrate with the broader community
- Reside in communities that understand and appreciate cultural nuances
- Create an African Women’s organization that nurtures and draws strength from African refugee and immigrant women.
- Create an organization that works with the cultural experiences and values of African women in seeking solutions to their issues in a new culture.
Founder of MAWA
Nyango Melissa Nambangi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Minnesota African Women Association (MAWA). The association was formed to promote the health and wellbeing of African refugees, immigrant women and their families in the Twin City area through research, education, advocacy and programming. Its vision is to create an organization that works with the cultural experiences and values of African women in seeking solutions to their issues in a new culture. Her work has and continues to influence hundreds of immigrant Africans in Minnesota and has led to numerous recognition and awards from Minnesota and beyond.
Ms. Nambangi is a former TV reporter and News Anchor for Cameroon TV (CRTV), a Hubert Humphrey International Fellow and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. Her awards include the 2005 Woman of Distinction, 2008 Immigrant of Distinction, 2011 Humanitarian of the Year and the 2013 Champion for Women’s Health Award. Under her leadership, MAWA has received various awards including the 2015 Torchlight Awards’ African Non-profit of the Year, 2014 Voices Magazine African Non-profit of the Year Award, 2011 Mshale’s African Non-Profit of the Year and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota 2013 Community Impact Award.
MAWA’s perspective and experience is often requested by local media. Videos below show some of these TV and Video interviews of Nyango Melissa and other MAWA staff persons.
Independence Day: One Immigrant's Perspective
Nyango Melissa Nambangi's interview with Carissa Wyant, channel 12 News. July, 2014
Amazing Motivational Speech on Resilience and the Power Within
LaBelle Nambangi speech "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the only one who gets burned"
"It's A Woman's World" TV episode: Immigrating and Strategizing
Nyango Melissa Nambangi's Miinnesota African Women's Association's interview on immigration and strategizing
Minnesota African Women's Association Second Hand Smoke Summit
International Institute of Minnesota
Collaborated with Wilder
Nyango Melissa Nambangi