What We Do
The Refugee Empowerment Center resettles refugees who are transitioning from vastly different backgrounds into American life. We focus on helping our clients live and work productively, further their education, and achieve a better life for themselves and their children.
Our goal is to empower resettled refugees by helping them obtain the skills necessary for economic self-sufficiency, developing support networks, and creating space for joy. REC is grateful to the Omaha community for uniting with us in solidarity to support our newest Nebraskans in becoming healthy and successful members of our city.
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.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.
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.
In fiscal year 2004, we began to resettle refugees beyond the traditional Sudanese caseload. We have resettled refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan and we look forward to welcoming refugees from new countries in the future.
2019-2022 Strategic Plan
Our three-year strategic plan will serve as a framework from which we work to help Nebraska newcomers become successfully engaged in employment and with the Omaha community.