About the Honorees


Abusana Micky Bondo

Abusana “Micky” Bondo is a dynamic and powerful woman in the Portland area’s vibrant Congolese community. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Micky arrived in the U.S. in 1996 and enjoyed a successful run as a produce manager and buyer for one of Georgia’s largest markets. She is a deeply committed community volunteer and leader, and co-founded In Her Presence, a new non-profit focused on empowering immigrant women.


Maria Elisabeth Ferreira Cushing

A native of Guinea-Bissau, Maria Elisabeth Ferreira Cushing is widely regarded as one of the most influential leaders in Portland’s diverse immigrant community. Elisabeth, who works as respiratory therapist and cardiology technician at Maine Medical Center, founded Friends of Mind/Amigos de Mente which helps establish immigrants in New England and assists the countries of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau in improving their health and medical institutions.


Betty Ayoub Kabbashi

Betty Ayoub Kabbashi, an energetic and gregarious woman, is a native of Juba, South Sudan. A 2011 arrival to Maine, Betty, who is a fluent in four languages, was trained, and practiced, as a dentist and maxillofacial surgeon in Sudan. She is an Interpreter with Catholic Charities while preparing to take her Board exams which will enable her to be licensed as a dentist in the United States.


Makara S. Meng

Makara S. Meng, a native of Cambodia and a genocide survivor, arrived in the U.S. as a 15-year old girl, determined to succeed, despite nearly a decade living in horrifying circumstances. Makara was the first immigrant woman in the Portland area to start her own business, Mittaheap World Market. She is widely known and respected in Portland, and is an inspiration to all who know her.


Nagham Rikan

Nagham Rikan, a warm, fearless, and determined businesswoman, is a native of Iraq. She and her family fled Iraq in 2000, living in the shadows in Jordan for nearly a decade, before settling in Portland in 2011. Nagham comes from a family in which the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, which led her to open Babylon, one of Portland’s best Middle Eastern restaurants.


Vicky Tshiama

Vicky Tshiama, a native of the Democractic Republic of the Congo, is a quietly powerful, warm, and determined woman who dreams of making changes to empower women and girls in the world. A business owner in the DRC since 1998, she made the courageous decision to start a business here, opening Vicky’s House in 2015. A locally celebrated caterer and clothing designer, she is deeply passionate about empowering her fellow immigrant women.