Valentina Ramia: 2023 Pillars of Change Honoree

For the past three years, Valentina has provided sensitive, skilled, and steadfast support to survivors within Sanctuary’s Immigration Intervention Project (IIP). She was first introduced to the Project’s Co-Deputy Director, Deirdre Stradone, by a mutual connection as she needed to interview someone involved in asylum work as part of her PhD research.

Valentina shared, “My work with Sanctuary is part of my anthropological research about how fear is interpreted in asylum law. I have been a volunteer for a long time, but my experience at Sanctuary (SFF) has a special place in my heart. At SFF, I have been able to get a deep understanding of the impact of legal representation on the lives of people who are fleeing gender violence and what the law expects from them in their court appearances. The amount of work, dedication, and passion that the teams put into the lives of their clients is invaluable and never ceases to inspire me”.

After the initial interview with Deirdre, Valentina expressed interest in volunteering to support the team and further understand the experiences asylum seekers face. Since 2019, Valentina has been integral to three asylum cases for women facing removal proceedings in immigration court. Valentina has assisted the IIP team by providing necessary document translation and trauma-informed interpreting in Spanish, her native language. In addition to hours of translations, Valentina has also provided beneficial insight into the cases, having also had experience with asylum law.

Deirdre says it is difficult to fully express the impact Valentina has had working with IIP. She says, “Due to Valentina’s work, I have been able to provide both strong legal representation and emotionally supportive cases to my clients. Instead of using different translators throughout our preparation or using faceless/nameless telephonic interpreters, my clients have been able to see Valentina’s face over Zoom or in person throughout the course of our prep. They have come to know Valentina as another woman who supports and cares about them and wants to help them obtain safety, freedom, and happiness in the U.S. Valentina has shown our clients that they have a whole team of people to support them and who believe in them“.

“Valentina is far more than a ‘volunteer’ or ‘translator.’ She has become a friend to both me and all of our clients that she has supported.”

– Deirdre Stradone, Co-Deputy Director (IIP)

Deirdre goes on to say, “I cannot express all of my gratitude for Valentina. She has donated hundreds of hours of her time over the past three years and has helped Sanctuary to change the lives of these women”.

On behalf of everyone at Sanctuary and the survivors we support, thank you for your amazing volunteer contributions, Valentina! We are so grateful.

To learn more about Valentina and her work, please join us on April 20th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at Pillars of Change.

Register for the event