Rachel Mwadi
Community Advocate

Rachael Elumba Mwadi, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Albuquerque in 2016 as a refugee family after fleeing to Uganda with her family. She graduated from Highland High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico in 2021.

Facing cultural challenges as a newcomer, Rachael was inspired to help others after witnessing a fellow student being bullied due to a language barrier. She started organizing meetings to help African students understand American culture and school systems, and assisted parents with translations, interpretation, and transportation.  

In 2018, she represented Albuquerque's newcomer youth at a Washington, D.C. conference, deepening her commitment to community service. After graduation, she joined United Voices for Newcomer Rights (UVNR) as its first official employee. Now, as a community advocate & Youth Specialist, Rachael started to develop a program to support newcomer youth in self-advocacy, mental health, and educational guidance. She also advocates for better language access in Albuquerque public schools and helps youths with college and job applications.

Rachael is pursuing a master's degree in social work and conducting research on how systemic racism and marginalization impact the mental health of African immigrants. She also facilitates the Youth Community Advisory Council and Learning Council and serves as the ambassador for youth in Albuquerque.

In her free time, Rachael enjoys music, dancing, movies, nature, and traveling. She encourages young people to advocate for newcomers and calls on the state to listen to their voices. "As a 25-year-old African woman, I want to see more people like me making a difference. Together, we can make our communities more welcoming," she says.