Our Mission

Strengthening refugee women and children by supporting them in new environments through dynamic, community-led initiatives.

Our Vision

Cultivating a future where every refugee family stands nurtured, spreading hope and resilience, illuminating our community's path to growth with each step.

Our History

Fereshteh Ganjavi came to New Haven, Connecticut, as a refugee in 2011. From her personal experience, she knows that adapting to a new country can be a long and arduous process. Many people helped her start her new life, a fact that she never forgets.

Our Values


Empathy and kindness towards our fellow humans are at the core of what we do.  We believe compassion is the key to creating communities where all people are respected, valued, and welcomed.  We recognize that we are in a time where many minority groups are facing large-scale disenfranchisement and xenophobia – and we hope to be a beacon of light for a brighter and more tolerant future.


The delivery of a service is worth little if that service is low quality.  Excellence is the keystone to all of our operations at Elena’s Light; indeed, we expect it at all levels: from volunteers to fellows, staff to board members, and across all of our programs.


Our differences are what make us unique, and they are worth celebrating.  We work hard to create an equitable community and culture that celebrates and values diverse backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. 


Everybody has the right to self-empowerment and self-actualization, the right to be treated with dignity, and the right to make their own choices.  At Elena’s Light, we work hard to provide refugee and immigrant families with all the tools they need to cultivate and exercise their individual independence. 


“Iktsuarpok” is an Inuit word with no English Translation. It means “the feeling of anticipation when you wait for someone to arrive, and you keep checking to see if they’re there yet.” This word represents the sentiment of what we envision for our community: a safe place where everyone feels a sense of friendship and belonging.

Additionally, we were founded as an ESL tutoring program – so we know translations are never exact! We find it very apt that we value a word with no true English translation.

And to achieve our mission we will

  • Provide culturally competent & accessible “working” and “practical” ESL classes in the home setting, with customizable curricula based on client needs.
  • Provide high-quality health education services to establish healthy lifestyle behaviors and bridge the gaps in care access.
  • Educate immigrant and refugee families on the American Healthcare System and provide maternal and pediatric health education services to maximize clients’ quality of life.
  • Empower refugees & immigrants to embrace their independence & autonomy within the community by preparing clients to take the CT DMV driver’s license examination.
  • Promote cultural competency through the development of cross-cultural friendships.
  • Build safe spaces that encourage cultural exchange & friendship building for refugee and immigrant youths. 
  • Provide all of our programs and services to refugee and immigrant families free of charge.
  • Elena’s Light is working to help build brighter futures for refugee women and children.