Migration Alliance at Yale Supports Local Partners Serving Migrant Communities in New Haven

After a spring 2024 semester dedicated to promoting and uplifting the work of community partners, Migration Alliance at Yale (MAY) is continuing to expand its impact in the New Haven area. Formerly known as the Yale Refugee Project, MAY has shifted its focus to encompass its broader mission of aiding the many migrant communities in New Haven, including refugees, documented and undocumented immigrants, and asylum seekers. In forging deeper connections with Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) and Havenly, the group aims to provide community support amidst the challenges of the migrant experience.

MAY consists of four subgroups – youth, college and career readiness, advocacy, and immigration – each responsible for promoting different initiatives. Co-Presidents Daliya Ali El Abani ’26 and Kaylen Yun ’26 explained the roles of each group, with Daliya noting that “while everybody organizes their own work, it all is very much integrated.”

The first subgroup, a youth group–which Daliya and Kaylen previously co-coordinated–partners with high school students and college students in IRIS, focusing on recreational activities, academic support, and fostering connections to college aid and post-secondary resources. MAY’s college and career readiness group additionally assists immigrant youth with planning for life after high school. The third group, which centers around advocacy in the city, spreads awareness of MAY’s mission by hosting symposia and other events at Yale. The immigration group, the final cohort, collaborates directly with various Connecticut organizations to help with legal support services such as document translation and immigration declaration writing.

Though MAY members can choose to devote their time to a specific group, all affiliates come together to bolster the organization’s larger projects. This spring, MAY participated in IRIS’s Run for Refugees 5K, organized a field day with New Haven immigrant youth, and hosted study breaks with Havenly, a local café and job training center run by refugee women that was originally incubated at Dwight Hall. 

“We are trying to provide the community with support and services and also just be there for what they [migrant communities] need. There are a lot of challenges that you can face when you get here,” said Daliya. “We can direct, guide, and provide our efforts to make their experience as migrants a lot better in New Haven,” she added.

With the assistance of 30 dedicated volunteers, Daliya and Kaylen are excited to bring new initiatives to MAY’s programming. Kaylen reported that an action item for the Co-Presidents includes developing a “more solid grounding of the needs [of partner organizations] and ways that we can serve and provide.” The target is to implement services that directly fulfill desires expressed by community partners.

She stated that another objective includes “partnering with other Dwight Hall groups, and seeing ways in which we can be working with translation or legal groups in New Haven.”

As a Dwight Hall member group, the Migration Alliance at Yale encapsulates the spirit of the Engage pillar of Dwight Hall’s Engage, Grow, and Advance program delivery model by forging trusted partnerships with New Haven organizations and agencies through community service.

Check out MAY’s website or follow their Instagram for updates!

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