MISSION & VISION

The mission of the Refugee Empowerment Center is to resettle and empower refugees to become self-sufficient through direct services and educational programs.

REC envisions a world where communities welcome all refugees and immigrants. We see ourselves as catalysts in the work of building welcoming communities. We aim to build relationships and a cross-cultural understanding between the Omaha and refugee communities.

We are a community-based, Nebraska 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

WHAT WE DO

The Refugee Empowerment Center assists refugees who are transitioning from their own culture to American life. We focus on helping refugees live and work productively, further their education, and achieve a better life for themselves and their children.

Our goal is to empower refugees to integrate into their new homes and obtain the skills necessary for economic self-sufficiency. REC is grateful to the Omaha community for uniting with us in solidarity to support refugees in becoming healthy and successful members of the community we share.

HISTORY

Omaha has been welcoming immigrants for decades. Omaha is an appealing destination for immigrants and refugees for its Midwestern values, civic-minded people, low cost of living, and vast entry level employment opportunities.

In 1997, founder and former Executive Director Tor Kuet migrated to Omaha with a friend. Tor realized that the transition of a refugee from a refugee camp to the fast-paced American culture is very difficult. When issues such as language barriers, illiteracy, and transportation are added, there are even more obstacles to overcome. Tor founded the Southern Sudan Community Association in 1997 to help other refugees overcome the challenges of resettling in a new country and achieving economic self-sufficiency. We started with one English language class and a handful of volunteers. Our agency received its first federal grant from Office of Refugee Resettlement in 1998.

Beginning in federal fiscal year 2001, we became a refugee resettlement agency serving as an affiliate of Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) and the Department of State through the International Office of Migration in Washington, D.C. In fiscal year 2004, we began to resettle refugees beyond the traditional Sudanese caseload. We have resettled refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan and we look forward to welcoming refugees from new countries this year.