With Help from Goodwill Industries, Lincoln Literacy Helps Refugees Get Jobs

Bari Akbar is one of many Kurds who, having suffered terrible persecution under the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and travails in the aftermath of the regime’s collapse, found a new life as a refugee in America.

Bari and her husband were resettled in Illinois, but they moved to Lincoln to seek better opportunities. Bari came to learn English last September in Lincoln Literacy’s class at RoperElementary School, where her son Rashid is enrolled. Her English at that time was minimal, but she made one thing clear: “I need a job,” she told the staff.

Just before Thanksgiving, she got one. Bari is now working at Wal-Mart on South 27th. She says, “I learned a lot from Lincoln Literacy classes, like how to fill out an application form.”

Bari is continuing to study English in the meantime. Her instructor at Roper says she is is making definite progress. “She practices at home with her kids,” notes volunteer tutor Kelleen Browning. Bari has gone on to enroll in a second Lincoln Literacy class, on Thursday mornings at GraceLutheranChurch.

Financial support from Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska helps to make these and more than 20 other classes available at no charge to refugees like Bari. Goodwill recently announced that it will continue to provide support throughout 2014.

“Lincoln Literacy is proud to have partnered with Goodwill over many years to help those in our community facing the greatest difficulties to become employed,” said Lincoln Literacy Executive Director Clayton Naff. “It is with immense gratitude that we accept this support.”

With help from Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Lincoln Literacy assists not only refugees and immigrants but also homegrown Americans to gain skills they need to get jobs. Its volunteer tutors provide personalized instruction six days a week at locations across the city, weekdays, evenings and weekends. Staff provides training and materials, operates free van transportation, and offers free on-site childcare as well as literacy instruction for children of adult learners.

Lincoln Literacy is a community-based, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization. Contributions of viable items to Goodwill are tax-deductible and not only support Goodwill’s employment programs, but several other organizations such as Lincoln Literacy that complement Goodwill programs throughout the city.



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