Refugee Empowerment Center was incorporated as a community-based, 501 (c)(3) Nebraska corporation as Southern Sudan Community Association in 1997. An affiliate organization of the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration (PRM) through the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), REC receives refugee cases from PRM and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees through ECDC.
Originally established Sudanese refugees for the express purpose of assisting those refugees who came after them to learn to work and live within their new culture, and to provide better lives for themselves and their families. In 1999, founded the Omaha Refugee Task Force. Began resettling Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan. Approximately 275 individuals are relocated from harm overseas to their new homes in Omaha each year.
Direct client service staff are multi-cultural, multi-lingual, former refugees from Bhutan, Burma, and the Republic of South Sudan who thoroughly understand the assistance required, barriers to overcome, and problems to solve before a refugee can orientate and operate successfully within their new society. Newcomer refugees feel more comfortable in working with one of their own community members, who can understand where they’ve come from, where they are, and some of the challenges they face. Programs and services are provided more efficiently and in a culturally appropriate manner.
On-site programs and services supplement the initial refugee relocation process, and ensure that all refugee families are provided cultural integration and self-sufficiency opportunities.
Refugee Empowerment Center (formerly Southern Sudan Community Association) is one of two federally designated refugee resettlement agencies in Omaha.
The mission of the Refugee Empowerment Center is to resettle and empower refugees to become self-sufficient through direct services and educational programs.
The Refugee Empowerment Center assists families to establish a new life in Omaha, founded on the dignity of economic self-support and inclusion in opportunities which Americans enjoy. The agency is a catalyst in supporting welcoming communities by building relationships within, and a cross-cultural understanding between the Omaha and refugee communities.