USCRI NC Newsletter
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Community Spotlight: Refugee Women’s Childcare Program
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are in no short supply in Raleigh, especially so within North Carolina’s refugee and immigrant communities.
With dreams of endless opportunities, refugees and immigrants come to this country with diverse hopes and fresh ideas. Yet more often than not, new arrivals are unable to pursue these dreams because their immediate responsibilities- getting a job, putting food on the table, learning English, sending their children to school- take precedent.
In 2012, USCRI NC developed a program for refugee and immigrant women that fosters that entrepreneurial spirit and provides them with top-notch training and skills. In learning how to develop, manage, and run a home-based business, the Refugee Child Care Microenterprise Program builds the capacity for local refugee and immigrant women to become self-supporting, provide a service to their communities, and empower themselves.
USCRI NC is inspired by the drive and passion of the participants of the program, Carmen, and her adult daughters Maydaris and Maeli, in particular. These three remarkable women have all opened home-based child care centers after successful graduation from the program. Yet just several years ago, after arriving in the U.S. from Cuba, Carmen and her daughters were living in a one room basement apartment, and secured late-night cleaning shifts in order to support themselves. While Carmen was a licensed math teacher in Cuba, she was unable to put her skills and passions to use.
Community Spotlight: Individual Development Accounts Program
In late 2013, USCRI NC set up an Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program for refugees and immigrants interested in receiving targeted assistance to build skills in money management, budgeting, financial literacy, and small business development. Through this innovative program, participants have the opportunity to work closely with staff at the Latino Community Credit Union to develop long-term budget plans, open savings accounts, and save for specific assets: a home or vehicle, small business, or their continuing education. They develop a savings plan with USCRI NC staff and when they meet their savings goal, they receive a dollar-to-dollar match of up to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 per family.