Arizona Allnation Refugee Resource Center (AARRC) previously known as The Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship (IASPF) is a non-profit, community based organization dedicated to assisting new refugees in Metro Phoenix in overcoming barriers to self-sufficiency and integration by providing education, advocacy and empowerment programs. AARRC works to establish community dialogue, awareness, and potential for new opportunities. AARRC strengthens the refugee community by closing service gaps that remain after the initial resettlement service period.
The need for extended resettlement services developed as over 10,000 Iraqi refugees have been resettled into the Phoenix area over the last two decades. To accommodate the continuous influx of refugees, AARRC developed programs that provide social, economic and educational services, which include English language instruction, citizenship preparation, employment support, translation services, immigration assistance, and referral to community services.
In addition to basic navigation and employment services, AARRC houses a Women’s Empowerment Program and Youth Outreach Program to support the unique needs of Iraqi families. These programs promote health, community building and youth integration in the community. AARRC’s programs operate with the assumption that individuals who participate in educational and empowerment programs are able to overcome depression, domestic violence and high-risk behaviors, and rather become civically engaged and are able to achieve a sustainable quality of life.
Our staff includes individuals from the community that know the culture and have experienced being a refugee themselves. Therefore, we are well-equipped to meet the needs and challenges faced by new arrivals. We are privileged to serve refugees who, after fleeing their homeland, still struggle every day to survive and adapt to their new country.
Arizona Allnation Refugee Resource Center (AARRC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities, advocacy, and empowerment services to the Refugee community of Phoenix, Arizona.
Arizona Allnation Refugee Resource Center Founders:
Jabir Algarawi came to the United States in 1993 as a refugee from Iraq. For several years he volunteered his time helping others from his homeland adapting to their new country.
In 2000, with a grant from the Federal Government, he opened the first Iraqi Refugee Center. As Founder and Director of the Arizona Refugee Community Center he established various opportunities to empower refugees, such as English and Citizenship Classes, Women’s and Youth Groups.
He also assisted other refugee communities to develop their own programs.
In 2003 and then again in 2005 he returned to Iraq to work for USAID local governance and democracy project serving as a Civil Society Specialist and Project Manager. In 2012, he again applied and was awarded a grant from the Federal Refugee Resettlement Office to open a new refugee community center the Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship. He is serving as the Board President. He can often be found volunteering at the refugee center.
Rosalind Rivera started volunteering her time teaching English to refugees from all over the world in 1998. She joined Jabir Algarawi in his efforts to put together a Federal grant to open a refugee center in 1999. In 2000, she continued to work for the City of Phoenix Municipal Court as the Interpreter Coordinator and volunteered at the center after hours.
In 2002, after Rosalind had written and successfully secured several grants for the center she was asked to join the staff as the Resource Director.
In 2003, Rosalind worked as the Director of the center continuing its mission at a smaller location until 2006.
In 2008, Rosalind and Jabir meet with many of the new Iraqi refugees. Seeing a growing need for a refugee center to reopen, Rosalind joined Jabir in his efforts to obtain funding for a new refugee center.
In 2012, Rosalind assisted in hiring staff and creating Management and Operations Resources. She is serving as Board Vice-President.