Our Refugee Childcare Micro-enterprise Program is also funded by the federal office of refugee resettlement.
This past year marked an important achievement for the Refugee Resettlement Office, as our microenterprise arm reached into a new field of business development. The Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Program (or “Childcare Micro-E” for short) helped facilitate the creation of 36 new home-based childcare businesses, exceeding its first year goals. In addition, our efforts resulted in the creation of over 50 new jobs, through expanding business services, freeing up customers for work, or helping our clients find jobs elsewhere in the childcare industry. Our office staff and the businesses we assist received accolades this summer from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, when we were asked to share our success stories at a national consultation in Washington, DC.
Refugee Childcare grants are offered in partnership with the Washington State Department of Early Learning. Through this program, refugees and asylees can receive money to start a home-based childcare business.
Our services include:
Providing financial literacy training
Taking the food handler permit test
Creating a business plan
Help applying for your childcare license
Must be a refugee or asylee
Must have high school diploma or equivalent
Have an outdoor play area and live on a ground floor
Meet training requirements
Obtain a business license
Complete 20 hours STARS training
Financial literacy training
Some grants are available to help start your business!
Funds can be used to:
Purchase inventory, equipment, toys, etc
Cover operational costs
Hafifa teaching STARS training
Childcare Success Story
Childcare skills trainer Hafifa Abdi has been no small part of our success. Having first arrived in the US as a refugee from Somalia over twenty years ago, Hafifa brings a perspective to childcare development that our clients can understand. The high level of business competency that we see with our entrepreneurs is no doubt encouraged by Hafifa’s thorough and engaging style of instruction.
After sitting through a recent training held in Kent, I noticed the way that Hafifa could quickly shift from an important safety lesson on household CPR practices, to a light-hearted singing activity. All the while, her pupils remained attentive and eager to participate with follow-up questions. Whether from Iraq, Burma, Sudan, or Somalia, it was clear to me that Hafifa could address the audience in a way that spoke to their shared experiences as refugees and asylees. As Hafifa put it, they seemed to understand that “this childcare business is tough, but they all know how to do it. You should really have fun with it.”
Outside of the training room, Hafifa’s presence has also been felt. With over 15 years experience as a home childcare provider, she has paved the way for newer refugees who might be unfamiliar with or daunted by the task of opening a business. To help them with their apprehension, Hafifa has done everything from translate fliers and business cards for clients, to help them identify vendors that sell childcare business supplies in the Puget Sound area.
Most recently, Hafifa has expanded her work in the education industry to start her own consulting business, Washington Childcare Training Service (WCTS). While continuing to provide high quality classroom training, Hafifa will also be providing one-on-one technical services to clients who have difficulty accessing Washington state’s new online daycare orientations.
We are proud to have Hafifa be such an important resource in our new program, and look forward to another year of shared success. For every student enriched by her hard work, we are sure that they too look forward to continued partnership with the person they affectionately call “my teacher.”