Communities Acting for Refugee Empowerment (CARE)


Act for Empowerment

From the moment clients arrive, CWS provides several avenues of support for refugees to become economically self-sufficient. However, despite these best efforts of CWS and our clients, many refugees remain in low-paying jobs years after they arrive in the US.

The Communities Acting for Refugee Empowerment (CARE) Program is a new initiative dedicated to closing the economic gap for established refugee individuals and families by connecting clients to community groups who commit to provide social and financial support toward their educational and employment goals.

This pilot program is based on years of observations and experiences of CWS staff and clients. We hope that with your support our communities can more fully benefit from the skills, talent, and expertise of refugees and that these new neighbors can experience economic security through fulfilling work.

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Achieving my teaching certificate was impossible without them.
I'm very grateful for Pam, Peggy, Dennis, Trish, and Nathan. These five people were always there for me.

Saima - CARE Refugee Client

CARE Groups

Rally a group of 1-5 friends and commit to a life-changing, 2-6 month partnership of support with a refugee neighbor.

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Social Support

CARE teams offer their time and expertise to provide Social Support for their refugee partner. This support will look different for each team and is determined by CWS case managers based on individual client needs and goals.

Support might include activities such as helping a client study for an English exam, helping a client obtain childcare, offering professional mentorship in a certain field, connecting clients with useful professional networks, or practicing interview skills.

Financial Support

Some CARE teams contribute Financial Support to help cover costs associated with trainings and living expenses for 2-6 months. This support allows the refugee partner to have the assurance of financial security while they pursue these new opportunities for economic upward mobility.

Many clients need to reduce working hours or leave their jobs in order to complete the trainings necessary to pursue new job opportunities; since many cannot afford to do so, they remain unable to achieve their goals and realize their potential.

Note on Client Empowerment

Support programs such as the CARE program provide valuable services to refugee clients. However, there are potential weaknesses. Compassionate volunteers desire to help their refugee partners, and can often instead do the work for them. In these cases, not only do refugees not learn the skills they need, they can unintentionally find themselves in a dependent position. Our goal at CWS is to give power to our clients. Empowerment helping models focus on teaching volunteers how to best support their refugee partners by giving them the tools they need to feel equipped to care for themselves. It focuses on the autonomy of the client and supports healthy boundaries between volunteers and their refugee partners.

I know that I could never have accomplished what I have on my own.

It's important to think about the kinds of support that people coming into our communities need so that they can also be successful and have a happy life, which is all that we ever want for ourselves and for each other.

Pam - CARE Team Member

Supporting You

CWS Durham provides trainings, resources, and dedicated staff to make sure that the CWS refugee client your CARE Team can achieve the determined goals and form an empowering friendship.

All CWS volunteers complete standard orientation training which is intended to educate volunteers on the work of CWS, CWS policies, the national refugee resettlement program, and volunteer expectations.

In order to further equip CARE volunteers with the skills they need to feel well positioned to provide support to refugee clients, CARE groups will also participate in additional anti-racism and empowerment helping model trainings.


Sarah Hester


Additional Resources

Our CWS staff is here to make sure your team and the client have the resources you need to achieve the client's goals.


We have fundraising resources available to help your team raise the financial support that will help your client achieve their goals.

Request Materials

Case Notes

Case Notes are an important documentation of the services our staff and volunteers provide to our new neighbors. Case notes increase coordination and communication across the team while also offering clients a transparent and accessible record of the services and team support received since their arrival.

Submit Case Notes