MRC nights are where refugees settled to Austin from diverse countries such as Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Liberia, Pakistan and more can gather together to learn and share resources. The Northpark YMCA has graciously donated their community room for these Thursday MRC nights. We are currently focused on four programs: drivers education, computer literacy, job skills and sewing.
Drivers Education: Getting a drivers license in America, especially in areas that have limited public transportation options, opens up many new opportunities for refugees. It offers them the possibility to choose from a wider selection of job leads if they have reliable transportation and they are able to utilize more resources in the city. In addition, having a drivers license is an excellent form of identification.
Computer Literacy: As we complete needs assessments for participants in our program, many tell us that computer literacy is a big need. Many of the refugees come from areas where computers were not readily available and perhaps have never had the opportunity to become familiar with this technology. We offer one-on-one computer training for participants meeting them where they are at. Learning computers opens up many new opportunities including being able to apply for jobs which many are exclusively found only online.
Job Skills: Refugees bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that the American workforce can certainly benefit from. Some of the various job experiences include shop keepers, tailors, restaurant owners, artists, musicians, lawyers, engineers etc. The challenge is finding open opportunities for employment utilizing their skills and expertise. Many have to start doing jobs that are not the most desirable and use them as a stepping stone to get to where they would like to go. MRC has two job coaches available to help refugees search for jobs, complete applications and resumes. We are currently working on a series of workshops this fall that will help educate refugees about the possibilities of further education, starting your own business, and accreditation.
Sewing: The sewing program has become one of our most popular with refugees being able to make clothes and bags that are familiar to them from their home country. Many are learning to sew for the first time and are now being able to provide a resource for their family in the way of clothing and other items. Soon we hope to have some of the items for sale which will help provide some much needed income to the families.
If you would like to learn more about the work MRC is doing to support and empower refugees please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any donations are appreciated to help these programs continue and can be made through our website at http://www.mrcaustin.org.