The Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), formerly known as the Somali Women And Children’s Association, was founded in 1993. We are a community-based, non-profit, grassroots human service agency that provides comprehensive services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants as well as the larger community. Our services include refugee resettlement, asylee case management, counseling, outreach and education, and other social services.
RIAC’s mission is to promote cultural, educational, and socioeconomic development in the refugee and immigrant community. To realize our mission, RIAC offers the following range of services to support successful resettlement and to promote self-sufficiency:
- Refugee Resettlement
- Post-Resettlement Support Services
- Community Education & Outreach
- Counseling Services
Current programs include:
- Refugee Resettlement: RIAC resettled over 125 refugees from different countries including Somalia, Vietnam, Burma, Congo, Burundi and Iraq in Worcester and greater Boston in fiscal year 2009-2010.
- Post-Resettlement Services: RIAC case workers assist with green card and citizenship applications, translation/interpretation for our clients, aiding our clients’ adjustment to life in the US, and other services as needed. RIAC also makes referrals for services not available at our offices.
- Community Education: RIAC hosts events and forums in order to educate our clients and others from the wider community about a range of subjects that RIAC deems to be of critical importance to the community. Topics covered have included: HIV prevention, domestic violence awareness, mental health stigmas, and issues during the teenage years.
- Social Adjustment Services: Staff provides outreach and support to Somali children in the Boston public schools. RIAC provides support, education and training to parents and teachers, and to families who seek help learning about the United States and adjusting to life here. RIAC also organizes summer programs for youth.
- Provider training: RIAC staff offer training to advocates and caseworkers from hospitals, courts, community agencies and police departments who work with African-Muslim victims of domestic violence. More than 801 individuals from throughout the state attended our training in fiscal year 2009-2010.
- Community Counseling: RIAC Community Counseling Services is community-based mental health and social support agency created to serve the unique needs of refugees and immigrants. Our multi-cultural and multi-lingual clinical staffs have expertise in refugee and immigrant mental health issues as well as deep understanding of the cultural needs of the populations we serve.