In 2008 and 2009, Karenni, Karen, Chin, Shan, Mon and Rakhine refugees from Burma started resettling to Iowa after fleeing Burma’s 70-year civil war, the longest running civil-war in the world. Since then, over 1 million people have been forced to flee Burma — and nearly 10,000 refugees from Burma have made Iowa home.
Upon arrival in the United States, refugee families receive about 90 days of assistance from a caseworker to help them learn about their new home. That’s not much time when there’s so much to learn. As refugees continued to arrive from Burma, leaders from the refugee community did all they could to help — but they soon realized that many families were still struggling with day-to-day tasks such as understanding mail, writing checks, getting children to school and learning English.
That’s when community advocates gathered to discuss their vision of a united refugee organization that understands the strengths and challenges of the community and leads in creating solutions. Together, they formed EMBARC in 2012 to provide support from refugees and for refugees through advocacy, education and community development.
EMBARC’s national service program, RISE AmeriCorps, provides leadership and training opportunities for individuals who are committed to serving refugees and immigrant communities. RISE AmeriCorps members’ service term includes implementing projects that increase opportunities for refugee and immigrant communities and promote economic growth in Iowa by:
Removing barriers to accessing basic services for employment and workforce readiness training; and
Providing support that leads to economic self-sufficiency — breaking the poverty cycle.
We couldn’t be more excited to begin serving EMBARC’s AmeriCorps program, helping the organization to bring a multitude of data systems and processes into a one-stop-shop where everything from AmeriCorps timesheet and HR compliance documents to client case management files can be easily managed. Very soon, staff will be directing far more energy to serving clients and growing its organization.
Welcome to the community of AmeriCorps programs using the Impact Suite!