About us

We are GRYN

We work globally and impact locally

About GRYN

GRYN is a global network of young refugee youth leaders who work together globally to support young refugees to take action locally in their communities. As both a refugee led organization (RLO) and a youth led organization, GRYN is attuned to the specific talents, needs, challenges, and opportunities of refugee youth, and is uniquely positioned to work with and for other young refugees.

What we do

• Supporting and strengthening refugee youth led initiatives at the community level both formal and informal with funding, capacity building. networking, and other resources.
• Fostering networking amongst young refugees and with other key organizations and networks focused on refugees or youth in humanitarian or development contexts, such as the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, One Young World, UN Youth Envoy Building on the learning and momentum of refugee youth advocacy to further advance refugee youth led policy advocacy, to amplify refugee youth voices on the issues that are important to them and raise awareness about the specific needs of refugee youth in all their diversity, as distinct from children and adults and as specific to the refugee experience.


Meet the GRYN team



Foni, hailing from South Sudan, has a compelling personal background. Her parents, driven by the civil war, sought asylum in Kenya in 1991, with her father, a journalist, fleeing the state. Presently, Foni Joyce has worked in the role of Research Lead at the Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) in Nairobi. In this capacity, she provided invaluable research guidance and advice on the Hub’s ongoing studies within the realm of research and academia. Foni has made significant contributions to the design of a study on refugee-led organizations in Kenya, conducted in collaboration with Carleton University and the Dadaab Response Association. Her expertise also extends to stakeholder engagement, as she has successfully organized and participated in various policy discussions. Notably, Foni served as the esteemed UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Co-Chair for three years and remains an active member of the Tertiary Refugee Student Network (TRSN) and the Refugee Education Council. Her fervent dedication lies in utilizing her experiences to advocate for the support of youth, women, and education for refugees.


*She hopes through her work and experience she will continue to amplify the refugee experience and expertise, work with youth in peacebuilding and education


Connect globally working locally. #forthecommunity.


GRYN Program Coordinator


Marot Touloung

Advocacy Officer


Simon, co-founder of the African Youth Action Network (AYAN), is a passionate advocate for peacebuilding and economic empowerment, especially for refugee youth. Having personally experienced displacement, he has trained over 380 youth in peacebuilding and entrepreneurship. In his role as Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN) Advocacy Coordinator, Marot empowers refugee youth to address community challenges. Recognized for his leadership, he is a member of the African Union Youth Advisory Council and represented South Sudanese refugees in the South Sudan peace talks. Marot was honored as one of the 100 most influential young Africans and received the Distinguished Award for serving refugees and internally displaced persons. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Geoscience and Production and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Energy Economics and Governance at Makerere University’s School of Business.

*To be an Energy policy expert and consultant in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    -Simple and open to conversations.


    Advocacy officer


    Laura Valencia

    Laura, originally from Colombia and now settled in Ecuador has experienced displacement from an early age.. Despite difficulties adapting to a new educational system after leaving Colombia at a young age, she persevered and became the second-best student in her high school class. Among Laura’s most notable achievements are her active participation in the Global Refugee Youth Consultations held in Ecuador and Geneva, where she contributed valuable insights as a founding member of the Global Youth Advisory Council, and her active participation in several high-level events always seeking to bring the opinion of refugee youth to the table. She uses her ongoing studies in marketing and digital content to connect with refugee youth and stakeholders through social media. Laura is a dedicated advocate for refugee youth, using her social media skills to provide information, inspiration, and sustainable solutions for refugee communities.


    *I love social media so I am looking to create better content with purpose and impact and continue to help refugee youth to showcase their talents, skills and work they do in their communities to be recognized and supported in different ways.


    Refugee youth have been a group left out of the action, it is time to change that narrative..


    Communications coordinator and Strategy Support


    Faridah Luandah


    Faridah, a refugee from the DRC currently living in Sweden, has triumphed over diversity. Faridah is a survivor of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as forced child marriage. Her dedication to making a difference is evident through her involvement in esteemed organizations like the UNHCR GYAC and the Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum, where she served as a member and a passionate advocate for refugee SRHR. Currently, as the Gender and Diversity Coordinator at GRYN, she tirelessly fights for women’s and girls’ rights, striving for gender equality and ensuring the recognition of the unique challenges faced by refugee women and girls. Faridah’s determination extends beyond her professional life; she is also the visionary founder and executive director of Da Vision, a group empowering refugee youth and women, especially girls out of school and teenage mothers at the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement. Her ultimate aspiration is to eradicate child marriage and early pregnancy while establishing safe spaces that enable marginalized refugee youth to conquer violence and thrive.

    Being in a new community with different customs, I like to do simple things that help me connect with new people around me. My vocation for women’s empowerment motivates me to take action in my role as a leader for positive change.

    I am from a disadvantaged background with fewer opportunities. I am working towards supporting other refugee young people, especially young women and girls, to reach their dreams.

     *Being in a new community with different customs I like to do simple things that help me connect with new people around me. My vocation for women’s empowerment motivates me to take action in my role as a leader for positive change.

     I Am   from a disadvantaged background with fewer opportunities ,I am working towards supporting other refugee young people especially Young Women and girls to reach their dreams.


    Gender and Diversity Coordinator

    Barthelemy Mwanza

    Barth is a journalist, refugee leader, and activist based in the US. He works with GRYN to coordinate the capacity building and funding that GRYN is channeling to RYLOs. Barth aged 30 is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and lived in the Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe  for 11 years. There he began his journey in social practice as a volunteer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a refugee leader, Barthelemy has led community initiatives to address gender-based violence, and strengthen child and youth protection in the Tongogara refugee camp in Zimbabwe. His achievements include his role as Co-Chair of UNHCR’s Global Youth Advisory Council and launching the Engaging Men in Responsible Practices to Prevent Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls (EMAP) initiative. Barthelemy has also represented his community at several UN-led conferences in Geneva. Currently residing in the United States of America, his impact as a refugee leader continues to resonate in the global quest for refugee welfare and empowerment.


    *I bring my passion for journalism, film, and publishing with my leadership and advocacy skills.


    Leadership is not about positions, it’s about how often the community comes to you for solutions.


    Refugee Youth-led organization (RYLO) coordinator


    Sofia Kavalova

    Sofiia, a young woman hailing from Ukraine made the difficult decision to leave her home country due to the ongoing war conflict that unfolded years ago. Recognizing the need for support within her community, Sofiia dedicated herself to working with youths, actively contributing to the development and resilience of the Ukrainian community in Romania. Her primary objective is to assist individuals in navigating challenging circumstances and collaboratively finding solutions. Throughout the past  years, Sofia engaged in voluntary work at Ukrainian kids’ centers and utilized her translation and interpretation skills to aid those who lacked proficiency in English. Presently, Sofiia assumes the role of Ukrainian Fund Project Coordinator as part of the GRYN . Her unwavering determination is driven by the desire for global remembrance of the devastating war in Ukraine. Sofiia aspires to facilitate the growth and mutual support of Ukrainians, working tirelessly to pave a path back to their homes.


    *I want peace for my country and justice in the World.


    The purpose of the project is to help young refugee leaders strengthen their work by providing them financial assistance, capacity building, and advocacy support.


    Ukrainian Youth Project Fund Coordinator


    Rahildaris Marchena

    Rahildaris, a Venezuelan Animator and Digital Artist based in Spain, is making a remarkable impact as a DAFI scholar. She skillfully uses her artistic abilities to shed light on refugee challenges and tirelessly advocates for equal rights, especially in education. Rahildaris holds a leadership position in the Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN) and actively participates in initiatives that promote self-reliance among refugees and involve them in decision-making. She collaborates closely with young refugee students in Mexico, assisting them in integrating into internships and providing valuable tools for professional development. Through her inspiring TEDx talk, “Una travesía narrada por guacamayas,” Rahildaris raises awareness about migrant struggles and advocates for the dreams and growth of young people in new countries. She also represents refugees in international events like the “Transforming Education Pre-summit” the ECOSOC and the Compact for Young People Working in Humanitarian Action, engaging with European Union delegates and participating in webinars on UNHCR’s response. Rahildaris is dedicated to amplifying the stories of young refugees and ensuring their visibility in her career.


    *Rahildaris aspires to use her artistic talents and advocacy skills to give voice and visibility to the stories and struggles of young refugees. She is passionate about advocating for equal rights, education, and self-reliance for refugees, while creating spaces for their opinions and dreams to be heard.


    Empowering young refugees through art and advocacy


    Communication Specialist



    Ibrahim, a refugee community leader from the Central African Republic currently residing in Morocco, is a graduate in Social Engineering from the APSOPAD International Institute of Morocco (2021). He also holds a diploma in Digital Business Management and Administration from the Higher Institute in Administrative Management and Computer Engineering in Rabat, obtained in 2019., Ibrahim has played a significant role from 2017 to 2021 as a member of the Global Youth Advisory Council (GYAC) at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). His primary objective was to advocate for the active participation of refugee youth in UNHCR’s policies, priorities, and programs. Ibrahim focused on critical areas such as the New York Declaration, the Global Compact on Refugees, and participated in the first Global Refugee Forum in 2019.  Currently serving as the administrator and capacity-building manager at the Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN), Ibrahim is dedicated to mentoring and enhancing the capacities of Refugee Youth-led Organisations and newly inducted GYAC members within the UNHCR.


    * I am an Analyst and expert in Continuous Improvement in production, skills, and quality management. I want to broaden my knowledge in humanitarian diplomacy in order to contribute to social and environmental causes, and thus make a positive difference in my community.


    Every day I strive to give young refugees a voice for a better future.


    Admin and Capacity Building Officer

    Oricia Makonda

    Oricia is a dedicated Gender and Advocacy Associate at the Global Refugee Youth Network. With a strong educational foundation, she is passionate about ending violence against women and girls, promoting women empowerment and access to decent work, reducing inequalities, and meaningful youth participation. As a coalition member of the Every Woman Treaty, Oricia actively contributes to eradicating violence against women and girls. She has experience working as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Center.. Additionally, she is a researcher and has led a research on climate change, mobility, and gender in the Horn of Africa.

    *Oricia hopes to be a powerful voice for women’s and girls’ issues globally and is especially passionate about eliminating Violence against Women and Girls and promoting the rights of women and girls to education,decent work and access to leadership opportunities.

    Oricia is working with Refugee Youths Globally to promote and advocate for meaningful youth participation especially for Women and Girls who are usually a silent minority due to discriminating social norms.

    and currently collaborates with the Global Refugee Youth Network to promote meaningful youth participation and ensure diversity representation


    Gender and Advocacy Associate