Photo Credits: Yoav Horesh
Mukhtar Idhow (PD), Executive Director
Mukhtar leads an innovative ethnic self-help organization that serves refugees from a variety of countries. In this role he manages an agricultural program that coordinates land access, training, technical assistance, and translation services for refugee farmers. A native of Somalia, Mr. Idhow attended high school and secondary school in Kenya. He 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, where he was a liaison and interpreter between Somali clients and medical providers, city schools, the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and other service providers in the community.
Minata Toure, Marketing Coordinator
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 marketing and sales 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. Minata is fluent in English, French, Bambara, Mooree And Mandingo.
Anthony Munene began as NASAP Farm manager in 2013. He develops and implements management plans, as well as infrastructure development for multiple farm sites. He coordinates land use, provides production training and technical assistance for the participants. In addition to growing up on a family farm, he owns a permaculture farm in Kenya and has vast experience in the agriculture sector, from incubator farms to greenhouse production to project management for a Farm-to-Restaurants program. Mr. Munene graduated from the Kenya Institute of Organic Agriculture and Uganda Martyrs University.
Matthew Schwartz, Program Director & Ecologist
Matthew oversees the Food Security and Youth programs and brings to ORIS a drive for systems-thinking, strategic planning, and the pursuit of financial vitality. He loves to take innovative ideas and make them happen. Prior to settling in New Hampshire, Matthew spent the last 15 years working alongside diverse populations from the highlands of Guatemala up to the rain forests of southeast Alaska. His background in wildlife ecology and horticulture bring an ecological perspective to social services and non-profit management. Matthew speaks English and Spanish.
Hibo Ali, Bilingual Advocate
Hibo Ali has worked with ORIS in case management since 2017. She meets with immigrants and refugees individually to assist them with their needs. She connects people to jobs, appointments, and interviews. She assists with documentation, transportation, interpretation and many other essential services. Ms. Ali is fluent in English and Somali.
Alex Sebantu, Employment Specialist & Case Manager
Mr. Sebantu has worked with refugees as an Employment Specialist & Case Manager since 2014. He prepares refugees to join the work force through regular orientation trainings on U.S. work ethics. He connects refugees to employment opportunities and prepares them for job interviews. He also conducts outreach and interpretation in a variety of languages. Mr. Sebantu is fluent in English, French, Swahili, Kirundi and Kinyarwanda.
Ameenah Shabazz, Farm and Food Youth Coordinator
Ameenah Shabazz, a native of the Mid Atlantic area, obtained her Bachelor’s in Horticulture & Landscape Architect from Temple University Ambler, Pennsylvania in 2006. With over 10 years of experience, she coordinates farm and food programs, leads educational programs, engages youth in farm-based curriculum learning and connects with organizational partners to assist in youth development. Ameenah has worked on numerous community greening/gardening projects to encourage community involvement in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Her goal is to find more ways through community outreach to advocate for the importance of fresh food by merging preventative health options with healthier lifestyle choices.