“Despite our different experiences and backgrounds, we are all here together as one community to make Keach Park more welcoming,” Riyah said. “It’s a symbol of what it means to give back to the neighborhoods and cities we call home.”
For Riyah, the event was a reminder as to why she founded New American Scholars during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Today, the nonprofit offers free-of-charge tutoring services to refugees who have resettled in Concord, Manchester, Nashua and the Seacoast.
Much like the event, New American Scholars also provides a sense of community for those enrolled in services, which in-turn helps build support networks and social networks.
Building a brighter future for new Americans in New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s first Umuganda had two main activities that involved attendees painting a large mural and planting a pollinator garden.
The mural was designed by Manchester artist Jozimar Matimano, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and resettled in New Hampshire from Uganda in 2016.
The mural Matimano designed for Keach Park was a U.S. map painted with vibrant colors and bordered by academic symbols, musical instruments and sports equipment which represented the hopes and dreams of new Americans. To the left of the map are five figures with gold crowns painted above their heads looking at the U.S.