April 2014

Vol. 6 Issue 2

Latest News and Updates
In This Issue:
Big Day of Giving
A Bright Future for Refugees
Refugee Entrepreneur Builds Thriving Business

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Current Events

World Refugee Day Celebration
June 20, 2014
Join us for a night of food, drinks, and music from around the world to honor the courage, strength and determination of the refugees who have come through our doors. All proceeds will benefit our refugees who are forging new lives of hope.

For ticket information contact Emma Lindrose:

Freedom Network
We recently joined a national coalition of anti-trafficking groups that advocates for survivors of trafficking. Learn more about the Freedom Network here.

Become a Volunteer
If you have teaching talents and passion for helping others, join our RHEAP tutoring team and make a difference in the lives of Iraqi children and families. 
Email us to apply. 
To learn about other ways you can help, visit our website.



       May 6th is the first time Sacramento is participating in the nationwide Day of Giving. As this newsletter strives to show you how your support has impacted our clients' lives and our community, I encourage you to donate to Opening Doors on May 6th for your contributions to be matched twice -- once locally and once nationally. Give to Opening Doors on May 6th and help us make history in Sacramento!






Debra DeBondt

Chief Executive Officer

Opening Doors, Inc. 


Give Where Your Heart Is

May 6th is the Day of Giving!
This is a 24-hour online giving campaign to support Sacramento nonprofits. Starting at Midnight, you will have the opportunity to give where your heart is, and as a GiveLocalNow partner, we encourage you to give to Opening Doors.

For over 20 years, Opening Doors has promoted social and economic change within underserved communities. Each newsletter brings you stories from the voices of our clients, and we thank you for your interest in their individual journeys. Here is your chance to do more.


What is GiveLocalNow's mission?

To increase philanthropy in Sacramento to meet or surpass the national average.
Sacramento households donate  
4% less than the national average.

How will Sacramento residents step up to the plate?

Donate during the 24-hour window and share the campaign within your networks. All donations made to Opening Doors through GiveLocalNow will be matched 

twice -- locally and nationally.


Every dollar gets a boost!


Why should you donate to Opening Doors?

  • Contribute to robust economic development.
  • Restore basic human rights to survivors of trafficking.
  • Bring immigration solutions to new Americans and aspiring citizens.
  • Enrich the lives of newly-arrived refugees.
  • Promote a happier, healthier community!

Local nonprofits make a difference in our community on a daily basis, but we need support from you in order to grow and thrive. This is your chance to be proactive in our community's future.


Please spread the word and motivate others to give local, give now!


Watch the hashtag
leading up to the big day!
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter
Big Day of Giving

A Bright Future for Afghan Refugees

On Fridays in Kabul, the city center becomes quiet as shops and schools close for the day. As a break from the long workweek, families gather in the parks to have picnics and fly kites. "There are kites all over the sky, everywhere you look," said Abdul Mateen Saboori.


He would know. Mateen was born and raised in Kabul, but it has been four months since he enjoyed these special days with his family in Afghanistan. Coming to the U.S. as a refugee has been a difficult transition, but he has not had to go through it alone.


"If the enemy found out what I did, 

I would have been killed."


Mateen was an Afghan translator for the U.S. Air Force for seven years. During that time, he earned a Bachelor of Science in International Business. He said it was difficult to work full-time while going to school, but it was a sacrifice he needed to make to provide for his family. However, this was not the only stress that came with working for the U.S. government.


Mateen said, "If the enemy found out what I did, I would have been killed." This ongoing serious threat to his life is one reason why Mateen, along with his wife and two children, came to the U.S. "Coming here has provided safety for my family," said Mateen. "It is the best place for us to live."


Opening Doors' Refugee Mentorship Program introduced the Saboori's to an American family who guided them through tasks like opening a bank account, navigating the public transportation system, and paying bills by phone.


Mateen laughed as he remembered standing at a crosswalk for ten minutes, waiting for his turn to cross the street. It was his mentor from Opening Doors who told him that pedestrians had to push a button to cross. Everyday tasks like this can prove challenging for newly-arrived refugees.


Mateen thinks they are adjusting well, and he is optimistic about the future. He recently found employment at Apple, and he is glad to be providing for his family once again. "I want to stand on my own two feet," he said.


He wants his sons to see him obtain meaningful, gainful employment so they understand the possibilities they now have. Murtaza and Mustafa are only two years old, but Mateen knows "they have a bright future with many opportunities here."


Please consider donating to the Refugee Resettlement Program to help refugees like Mateen and his family. Your gift will ease their transition and connect them to resources that help them stand on their own.

Refugee Entrepreneur Builds Thriving Business

Ten years ago Irena was eight months pregnant and fleeing her home country of Ukraine with her husband and two small children. Her family's safety was threatened because they disagreed with the government's communist ideals, and despite being a talented tailor, the unstable economy impeded her sewing business and hope for prosperity.


Once her family resettled in Sacramento, Irena felt enormous relief and hope for their future. Despite feeling intimidated about adjusting to American culture, Irena began the process of rebuilding her life and making new connections.


To support her family, Irena worked at a dry cleaning business, but her passion for tailoring never abated, and she completed simple dress and suit alterations from her home. It was not until 2008 that she began reaching out to Sacramento lenders to launch a business called Silhouette Custom Design.  


After meeting with an Opening Doors business specialist in 2009, Irena learned that she qualified for technical assistance and financing through our special loan program for refugees. With the help of a $15,000 loan, Irena purchased specialized equipment, including a sewing machine that allowed her to take on more complex projects.   


Irena worked hard for three years, established a stronger and larger customer base, and took out a second loan. She used the money to open a boutique in downtown Sacramento where she fits clients and does most of her sewing. 


After working diligently to establish

Silhouette Custom Design as a reputable small business within

the Sacramento community, Irena

now creates mostly custom work for her clients, including bathing suits, evening and cocktail dresses, and business attire. Recently, Irena signed a long-term contract to recreate historical military uniforms to be featured in museums in Germany and Austria.


Before leaving her home in Ukraine, Irena struggled to make a living despite being a highly skilled tailor. Today, with help from Opening Doors' Prosperity Project, Irena is a thriving entrepreneur who supports her family doing the work she loves.