Emily Worline - Founder, Executive Director
The plight of those experiencing displacement first became real to me after volunteering in refugee camps in Greece. Naive and misguided, I was transformed by the people I had travelled there to help. I came back to the states knowing I had to do more to alleviate global disparities and combat xenophobia in communities. From there I began working with an amazing team of people to create ROC. I have fallen in love with community activism and organizing, and have learned so many lessons from people all over the world. It is so thrilling to watch what a few people can accomplish out of compassion and a willingness to learn.
Sydney Fernandez - Country Director - Jordan, and Director of the Global Leaders Program
I have worked closely with ROC since the organization’s founding in 2016. I have worked professionally in humanitarian contexts in Greece, Serbia, and Jordan. I manage programs I founded in 2018 focused on education for Syrian children. Currently, my primary focus is stateside, where he is preparing Western Michigan University students to travel to Greece to work with refugees as part of the ROC Global Leaders Program, which I founded in 2018. I speak English, Arabic, and Spanish, I am completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Global and International Studies with a focus on Migration and Security at Western Michigan University, and I enjoy writing for my online journal, Critical Conflict Analysis.
Sari Saba-Sadiya - Director of Community Relations
I am a graduate student at Michigan State University from Palestine. I am passionate about democratizing knowledge and technology by maximizing the accessibility to resources and supporting grass-roots initiatives.
Michelle Thorpe - Collegiate Outreach Program Coordinator
When the opportunity to get involved with the global migration crisis came to me I couldn't pass it up. I believe in a global community where we all care for one another and as a citizen of the global community, I want to do my part. As Collegiate Outreach Program Coordinator I work hard to bring awareness, spread education, and connect those who have experienced displacement with the greater community. Without education and conversation we will never learn from each other and that everyone has something wonderful to share.
Raphaël Ndabaga - Director of Dzaleka Programming
I was born in the Southern Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but I am currently a refugee in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. I am the Executive Director and Chief Editor of Yetu Community Radio, the only radio station in the Southern African refugee camps. I am hosting a Youth Speaks Program renamed the Voice of the Voiceless Youth. I’m doing Diploma Studies at Regis University, doing Liberal Studies concentrating in Social Work and Education. I am also a script writer, story builder, director and movie actor. I like watching soccer and I’m a football reporter.
Benjamin Tan - Lead Strategist
When I joined what was then known as Refugee Outreach Kalamazoo in the summer of 2016, I was eager to join a fledgling group built on compassion and inclusivity. Since then, my journey has brought me on a path where I constantly strive to find new ways to advocate, befriend, and learn. As I further my studies in economics at the University of Michigan, I take pride knowing my college experience has been given purpose and relevance through the lives of those I meet in ROC. In my free time I enjoy cooking and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Allie Pail - Advocacy Chair
Conducting research on perceptions of refugees in the United States and the most effective ways to positively alter people’s views of refugees led me to first join MSU’s ROC chapter. Research was my main platform of interaction with the refugee crisis before volunteering locally in Lansing and globally in Lesvos, and this work has taken on a whole new meaning for me after connecting with people experiencing displacement. The importance of human connection and listening to voices that have previously not been given a platform on which to share their stories cannot be understated. While such a complex global issue seems daunting to tackle as a university student, I have found that everyone has the ability to become an advocate in their own communities and have been fortunate enough to partake in larger advocacy projects through ROC.
Brittany Newfer - Fundraising Chair
When I first heard about ROC, and the hands on impact they were having in communities, I couldn’t wait to get involved! After volunteering in Lansing, I found the importance of connecting with people who have different backgrounds, cultures, and stories. Learning about displacement made me motivated to get further involved with ROC. I’m hoping to further my involvement through continuously learning and advocacy. My goal for my position is to help facilitate meaningful relationships for the Dzaleka Pen Pal program, and foster an environment that allows for learning on both sides.
Maxwell Evans -Editor
Maxwell Evans is the lead editor of ROC's Voices from Dzaleka blog and will soon graduate with a degree in journalism from Michigan State University. He is also the East Lansing city desk editor for The State News, gets shivers listening to D'Angelo's voice and names all of his streets on SimCity 4.
Being a refugee myself, I have witnessed the psychological trauma that comes with displacement. This has motivated me to give back to people who are in similar condition. Information or knowledge on the psychological effects of being a refugee remains scanty. I believe my current training in psychology will equip me with the necessary toolkit needed to fill up the knowledge gap. I chose to work with ROC because it provides a good platform to advocate for refugees and also assist refugees in their transition period. I hope to contribute to this noble course with my knowledge and collaborative work with other individuals to ensure that the goal for the whole organization is being achieved.