World Grace Project empowers indigenous leaders to resource, develop and integrate our refugee and immigrant communities toward self-sufficiency in the Cedar Valley.
Ensure that refugee community members become integrated into area business and employment opportunities
Providing a welcoming community regardless of race, religion, status or background.
Collecting a voice of the refugee/immigrant community and helping that voice to be heard.
Connecting ethnic leaders to valuable resources in the Cedar Valley community leading to a wrap-around care model.
Grace is unique. It is giving without receiving. It is paying it forward. This project takes margins found in current economic models and creates windows of grace for those needing a bridge to opportunity. It engages the community in these windows of opportunity allowing everyone the opportunity to give back to those around them.
Waterloo is the most diverse city in Iowa, making it challenging to bridge all the gaps in human services. The World Grace Project’s primary goal is workforce development for vulnerable or low-income populations of Waterloo, while raising awareness of cultural diversity by engaging the greater community in the project.
Our secondary goal is creating connections to healthy food through the use of our Life Garden, an indoor hydroponic garden that can grow 21 heads of lettuce in 2 square feet. With proper maintenance, the system can produce an estimated 280-300 heads of lettuce per year, allowing participants to be a part of a healthy behaviors and food security initiative for their city.
Refugee admission is at an all-time low; however, thousands are still seeking asylum. Unfortunately, the dip in refugee admissions causes a backlog of government paper processes for those seeking humanitarian parole post-Covid.
Refugees are automatically granted work status, which allows them to provide for themselves and their families. Refugees are automatically granted work status, which enables them to provide for themselves and their families. Paroles are not as fortunate as refugees, even though their situations can be equally grim.
In the Myanmar community, 46% were in agriculture and farming before they came to the U.S. After resettling, agriculture or agriculture processing is a common trade for the immigrant community. We seek projects in agriculture as an opportunity that fit the communities we serve. Our Life Garden represents the hope and life that the immigrant community seeks to find in America.
In 2019, a survey identified barriers to the Burmese refugee community reaching the workforce, including the top three obstacles: lack of workforce experience, language, and lack of resumé. Before getting to the U.S., 46% of respondents had jobs in farming, followed by 21% in teaching. (Galloway, 2019) Overall, 48 percent of this resettled refugee population surveyed in a workforce needs assessment were not employed. (Galloway, 2019)
Transportation and child care are known barriers to the workforce for the refugee community that also need to be addressed.
We have many ways to join the movement. Share this page or like our Facebook page for more updates.
Galloway, D. R. (2019). Child Care & Workforce Needs Assessment of the Refugee Community in Waterloo. Waterloo: Community Foundation of NE Iowa.