The East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Refugee Center (ECIRMAC or the Refugee Center) exists to provide services essential to refugee and immigrant resettlement in East Central Illinois and to aid in the exchange and preservation of their respective cultures. As an organization, they believe in the inherent worth of all human beings regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, race, or cultural heritage. The Refugee Center believes it is possible and desirable for all human beings to live peaceably together, and to work together to create a more loving and compassionate world in which everyone’s basic human needs and rights can be secured.
Among the many services offered are:
- Translation of documents and interpretation in community settings
- Advocate and liaison in clients’ places of employment, schools, hospitals, courts, with landlords, etc.
- Aid in completing paperwork for citizenship, asylum, residency, family reunification, etc.
- Assistance with applying for government benefits for which an individual is eligible
- Case management and counseling
- Referrals to community resources
- Tutoring and intercultural socialization for school aged children
ECIRMAC’s services are regularly offered in English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Russian. Other languages can be accommodated with advanced notice.
In 2016 the Center served over 2,400 individuals, representing hundreds of families.
Support for the Refugee Center comes from community members’ contributions, Champaign County United Way, the Champaign County Mental Health Board, private grants and donors, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Presence Hospital has supported the Refugee Center’s Saturday tutoring program for several years.