When Sherizaan Minwalla received the Anderson Fellowship in 2004, she was the staff attorney for the New Futures Project at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) (formerly the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center). She provided direct legal representation to immigrant survivors of domestic violence, conducted community outreach to increase awareness of legal immigration remedies available to these women, made appropriate social service referrals, and trained pro bono attorneys to represent immigrants who qualify to self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act.
Before law school, Minwalla worked in a domestic violence shelter. There, she witnessed the obstacles and struggles that exist for immigrant women and saw the impact of law on individuals and on society as a whole. She decided to use the law herself to improve the status of women. The New Futures Project, which Minwalla helped create, enabled her to use the legal system to provide assistance to and improve the lives of hundreds of women who were among the most vulnerable members of our community.
In April of 2007, Minwalla took a leave from the Anderson Fellowship program when she accepted a position with Heartland Alliance, the parent organization to NIJC, in Sulaimaniya Iraq. As Country Director of Iraqi projects for Heartland Alliance her clients include victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. She continues this work today.