Hunger Strike: Day One

Refugees in New Mexico are starving for equal access to American opportunities, says Nkazi Sinandile. She started a hunger strike today to bring awareness to the problems refugees in Albuquerque. “Enough is enough. There are no jobs and no assistance. All these people want is to do something for themselves," she says.

Sinandile is a refugee and immigrant community support coordinator, a volunteer English as a Second Language instructor and the director of Women’s Global Pathways New Mexico. She will be at the Singing Arrow Park near Central and Tramway every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until her requests are met.

She is seeking: A space where refugee women and children can gather and train in vocational skills like sewing, weaving, and beading; a 15-seat van to transport women and children; 30 working sewing machines and gas vouchers.

Sinandile and her husband emigrated from South Africa more than 30 years ago. She graduated with a degree in nursing from the University of New Mexico and worked at the UNM Hospital as a nurse until 2004. Shortly after she left the hospital, she began assisting refugees in Albuquerque. She found discouraging conditions in programs designed to help, including meager funds for The Women's Self Help Program, which will benefit directly if her hunger strike is successful. "People are not really helping women," she said. " I see them getting discouraged because they aren't getting progress financially. There are no jobs. No jobs."

Donations can be made at the La Mesa Presbyterian Church (7401 Copper Ave. NE) 255-8095