Refugee and Immigrant Well-being Project (RIWP)

The Refugee and Immigrant Well-being Project (RWIP) is an annual, 9-month long program pairing students from the University of New Mexico with refugee and immigrant families who work together to in the mobilize community resources and engage in mutual learning and advocacy. For more information on the RWIP course, visit

The Class

The RIWP class, Health and Social Inequalities, is a two-semester, 9 credit hour course at UNM. Students typically spend the first three months of the fall semester in the classroom learning about social inequalities and innovative ways to address them. Students develop knowledge on migration and resettlement challenges for newcomers and how to access community resources.

The Learning Circles

Beginning in November every year, students and refugees/immigrants gather for three hours every week at a community space, enjoying social time, cultural exchange, and one-on-one learning opportunities.

Cultural exchange time provides a forum for newcomers and students to learn from each other through discussions aided by interpreters. This cultural exchange format fosters improved intergenerational respect and communication by involving newcomer elders, parents, and children.

One-on-one learning time occurs as students and newcomer participants work in pairs. Newcomer participants choose their areas of learning such as speaking, reading, and writing English, understanding their mail, financial literacy, and/or learning how to complete job applications.

Refugee and Immigrant Advocacy

In addition to Learning Circle, students spend 3-5 hours per week with refugee and immigrant families working on English, healthcare or applying for jobs. Students are closely supervised and supported by experienced instructors