Elizabeth Lou and her family fled the civil war in Sudan in 1996. After three years as urban refugees in Kenya, she and her family were resettled in San Diego. Touched by the enormous challenges refugee and immigrant women encounter in accessing essential services in San Diego, and motivated by the hospitality and support of the host community, Ms. Lou founded Nile Sisters Development Initiative (NSDI) in 2001 to help refugee and immigrant women overcome barriers to economic self-reliance. NSDI has helped thousands of refugee and immigrant women and their families from all over the world in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. The focus of Nile Sisters is to create self-sufficient refugees and help integrate them into their new home. NSDI works to eliminate the disparity gap that exists in access to healthcare (including preventative services), vocational training and employment opportunities. Many of the women who benefitted from NSDI efforts subsequently served the organization as volunteers helping incoming refugees/immigrants.