The vision of Refugee Empowerment Program (REP) is a united, well-acclimated, prosperous, and empowered refugee and immigrant community who have achieved self-actualization in creating a new home away from home in Memphis, TN. Our ultimate goal is to be run by and for the refugee community.
The mission of REP is to address the needs and concerns refugees and immigrants in Memphis, TN by offering high-quality programs and services that encourage, educate, and equip individuals, families, and the local community. REP walks alongside newcomers as they build new lives and work to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Who we are:
Who is REP? REP is a team of individuals committed to empowering refugees and immigrants in Memphis. We value diversity in all its forms, and our staff is comprised of both native-born Americans and 1st and 2nd generation refugees and immigrants. We come from a variety of professional backgrounds and bring a wide variety of life experiences to our empowerment work. We provide a multitude of different empowerment programs and services focused on education, mentorship, social and emotional development, leadership, community building, cultural navigation, cultural acclimation, self-actualization, and self-sufficiency.
Who does REP serve?
REP serves refugees and immigrants living in and around Memphis, TN. The majority of our participants live in the Binghampton neighborhood.
Who is a refugee?
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.” For more information, see: https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/what-is-a-refugee/.
Who is an immigrant?
An immigrant is a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. People move to a new country for many different reasons, including seeking freedom, safety, economic opportunities, educational opportunities, religious communities, and proximity to family.
What we do:
REP serves refugees and immigrants by offering programs, services, support, and connections relevant to their needs and interests. Our main three program areas include the following: 1) after-school, in-school, and summer enrichment programming and support for youth in grades K - 12; 2) adult education classes, and 3) community outreach and cultural acclimation support. We strive to maintain an environment in which all feel welcomed and respected.
The majority of REP youth and adult participants have had little to no previous access to formal education. As a result, educationally-based programs remain the primary focus of REP. With the assistance and guidance of REP staff and volunteers, students in the after-school program endeavor to understand and complete their homework and school projects, develop social and emotional skills, address the legacy and impact of trauma in their lives, build math and language skills, grow their love books, and have access to computers and the internet. Adults learn to speak, read, write, and press themselves in English, learn digital literacy skills, prepare for the citizenship, and make new friends across cultures.
You can find more information about or programs here.
The work that grew into REP began in 2002 with the dream of a recently resettled refugee from South Sudan to help children and parents her community respond to the demands of the American education system. Ruth Lomo was compelled by the struggles of refugee students trying to understand and complete homework assignments, and by the frustrations of parents unable to help them. Ruth spoke out about the exceptional need for educational support in the refugee community, and for the need of increased connection between the refugee and American communities. She and a core group of dedicated Americans began organizing volunteers to tutor a small group of students after school. By 2007, REP was formalized as an operational ministry of Memphis Leadership Foundation. REP is now a staff of 7 full-time employees and 5 part-time employees serving over 400 individuals from over 12 different nationalities.