BY SUMUR TSEHAYE & TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
The Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) on Friday announced it is hosting a webinar session in a bid to inform the larger public on the US Department of State’s recently launched, Private Sponsorship program, or else known as ‘The Welcome Corps’.
In a statement sent to The East African Daily, the organizer, ECDC, said the webinar session will be held in collaboration with the African Communities Together (ACT) on Thursday, March 30, 7:00-8:30 pm EST [East African Time] via Zoom.
Panelists for the upcoming webinar include esteemed staff members within the leadership of the ECDC and ACT.
Specifically, these experts are Elisabeth Benfield, the Community Engagement & Sponsorship Manager at ECDC, Demelash Wondimu, the Legal Aid specialist at ECDC, and Diana A. Konaté, J.D., the esteemed Policy Director at ACT.
According to the invite, the webinar will offer attendees the chance to learn more about the US Welcome Corps program and further allow them to raise any questions they may have with regard to the program.
“Individuals will have the option to register individually or as a group with ECDC to participate in the program” said the organizers.
The US private sponsorship initiative allows American citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor refugees in groups of at least five individuals who live near each other.
To promote accessibility, ECDC affirmed that simultaneous translation services will be provided in Amharic, Tigrigna, and French during the upcoming webinar.
“This will enable individuals who speak these languages to participate fully in the event and gain a deeper understanding of the Welcome Corps’ Private Sponsorship program,” said ECDC, in an invite read by The East African Daily.
The upcoming webinar is expected to provide valuable information to those who wish to support refugees through private sponsorship.
Interested individuals are encouraged to register for the event and take an active role in supporting the refugee community using the following link:
Established in 1983, ECDC is currently headed by its President and CEO, Mr. Tsehaye Teferra (PhD).
It is the only national resettlement agency based in the US founded by an African citizen.
ECDC says that it is committed to building a better world where everyone can thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.
The organization have been working in assigning refugees to local communities across the U.S. and placing them in the hands of trusted organizations that help them meet their immediate and longer-term needs.
The ECDC, through its local and national offices, provides case management services to newcomers.
Local staff assist with resettlement tasks, such as finding housing, enrolling children in school, and accessing health services. They connect newcomers to community volunteers and organizations.
The head office teams provide program management and processing support by assigning families to local sites, monitoring progress, providing training and technical support for staff, and generating resources to meet emerging needs.
What Do we know about ACT?
ACT is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to advocating for the civil rights and opportunities of African immigrants in the US and beyond.
ATP acknowledges its primary focus is on empowering African immigrants to become socially integrated, economically successful, and civically engaged.
Through various programs and initiatives, the organization connects African immigrants to essential services, offers leadership development opportunities, and facilitates community organizing around key issues.
Furthermore, ACT asserts that it works to improve the lives of African immigrants and their families by promoting inclusion, equity, and justice.
WELCOME CORPS Program
The Welcome Corps is a program that operates under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) pilot initiative.
It is made up of a group of six organizations, each with distinct responsibilities for implementing the program.
The Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) is the lead organization, and it is joined by Church World Services (CWS)/Refugee Welcome Collective (RWC), Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Welcome.US.
The program was initiated by the Department of State on January 19 in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on “Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees”.
The program is aimed at utilizing private sponsorship to increase the domestic resettlement capacity, while enabling everyday Americans to actively participate in welcoming refugees into their respective communities.
(The East African Daily)