A critical component of successful integration is employment.  One program that makes this possible is Match Grant. Within this program, WRC receives a 2 for 1 federal match: for every dollar an agency raises through donations, volunteer hours, or gifts in kind toward the program, the federal government gives two dollars, up to $2200 per client. Because of this, contributions and volunteer time are invaluable in making the program a success for refugee families.

The purpose of the Match Grant program is to help eligible refugee clients obtain self-sufficiency without becoming dependent on public assistance. Families are provided employment counseling, assistance with job interviews, budgeting help, case management, English classes, short-term rental assistance, and cash to help them meet basic expenses. In exchange for the extra resources this program offers, clients agree to seek and accept early employment and not receive cash benefits from welfare.

Increased volunteer support and early employment mean growing long-term relationships, gaining valuable work experience and history, developing a sense of pride and dignity, and ultimately becoming self-sufficient.

The Bhandari family arrived in Chicago in February of 2012. Despite the language barrier, Tek and his wife and their two teenage children immediately immersed themselves into American culture. The family enrolled in the Match Grant program and were able to have their living expenses paid while Tek and his wife studied English and learned job skills at World Relief Chicago. Within a few months Tek secured a job at a local restaurant.  Mrs. Bandhari takes care of her family by walking her daughter, Muna, and her son, Sulav, to school, preparing traditional Bhutanese and Nepalese dishes, and keeping the household organized. Muna and Sulav are very bright and driven teenagers. Muna is interested in science and art. In her free time she likes to dance and read mystery books and dreams of becoming a nurse. Sulav, on the other hand, is passionate about computers and would like to study engineering.

On weekends, the Bhandari family spends time together as they explore Chicago’s neighborhoods, go to the beach, like any other American family.

For more information contact:

Peter Zigterman at (773) 583-9191