SVPI 01/12/2023
Grantee Spotlight

Grantee of SVP Vancouver

UMOJA works to empower immigrants and refugees to successfully integrate into an inclusive Canadian society by helping them to build confidence and abilities in literacy, social and life skills, and healthy development. Since 2002, UMOJA has provided safe spaces for adults, youth, and children to connect in positive ways, ensuring that newcomers are empowered and motivated to thrive in their new communities.

Barriers that newcomer families face include isolation, English language comprehension, housing, financial strain, employment, culture shock, working through the trauma of war, and living in refugee camps. Children and youth especially may experience the pressure and uncertainty of a new school, cultural expectations, a new language, and a new social environment.


The culmination of pressure and stress that newcomer children and youth can experience is high and, as a result, it is necessary that the culturally sensitive services that UMOJA provides be available to ensure children and youth have opportunities to build, develop, and grow in positive, healthy, and engaging environments. Through a family-centred, outreach-based approach, UMOJA’s culturally competent staff connect with parents, build trusting relationships, and provide engaging programming for children and youth.

UMOJA serves approximately 300 people annually. Most of UMOJA’s current clients come from the Middle East having fled war in Syria and Iraq. However, there is an increase influx of clients from Eritrea, Somalia and Congo.

  • 85% of clients are refugees
  • 15% of clients are new immigrants
  • 90% of programs are focused on children and youth (0 – 18 years of age)


  1. To grow and support their staff by establishing sustainable Executive Director, Human Resources, and Outreach positions
  2. To draw on SVP Partner expertise in: strategic planning, governance, technology, HR, fund development, impact evaluation

SVP Grant Commitment: $60,000 in Year One

UMOJA Executive Director: Amos Kambere
Lead Partners: Neil Duke, Isabelle Godsy

This post was originally published on SVP Vancouver’s website – you can see it here.

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