Helping newly-arrived refugees break language and cultural barriers.
Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) exists to build healthy relationships between the faith communities of Central Texas. iACT for Refugees is breaking down the barriers that divide us by teaching English as a Second Language and cultural skills to newly-arrived refugees. Over 1,000 refugees are legally resettled in Austin each year.
The word refugee is officially defined as someone who has fled their country because of “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion”.
iAct’s adult English as a Second Language (ESL) program serves over 700 refugees a year from about 15 different nations. With morning and evening class sites, the program offers the refugee population year-round classes for up to five years after their arrival in the United States.
iAct’s youth program, iLearn, provides English and math instruction, cultural orientation and outdoor recreation to over 50 refugee youths every summer. This is followed up with academic support during the following school year as well.
iAct is a member of the Austin Refugee Roundtable, which enhances collaboration between agencies, community groups and individuals who serve refugees, with the aim of making Austin a welcoming and supportive resettlement community.