Who We Are
SayDaNar Community Development Center was founded officially in 2012 and grew out of a network of volunteers, previously known in the city of Lowell as the Burma Volunteer Group (BVG). SayDaNar, with an experienced pool of volunteers including professionals of Burmese origin and people who have worked in Burma and in the refugee camps in Thailand, is well placed to support refugees from Burma to bridge the language and cultural barriers that otherwise inhibit community contribution, participation, and growth in the city of Lowell and Massachusetts. With refugee self-efficacy at the core of our work, Saydanar is integrating and training refugee volunteers. We envision that 5 years from now Saydanar will be run by refugees for refugees.
Mission and Vision
SayDaNar's orienting goal is to help create a community where refugees, new immigrants, and all other community members are working together to help each other become successful and self-sufficient participants in American society while celebrating their rich cultural heritage.
Saydanar provides advocacy, education and services promoting self-efficacy and empowerment of new immigrants and refugees to enhance their economic, health, educational and employment status in the United States to become active citizens contributing positively to their wider communities.
How We Do This
- Educational and awareness raising workshops and programs for community members.
- Translating and providing knowledge and tools for refugees and immigrants in culturally specific languages.
- Engaging in activities and partnerships that assist refugees and new immigrants to become productive, self-sufficient, and responsible members of society.
- Training staff members, service providers and volunteers to offer effective support, advocacy, education and counseling services.
- Promoting inclusion of cultures, languages, skills and knowledge into the fabric of the United States.
- Casework sessions held 10 hours per week, 50 weeks per year serving 170 community member by 1 caseworker with support from UMass service learning students.
- Community Workshops on topics such as fitness finance, nutrition, the US education system.
- Homework Help sessions held 3 x per week for 1.5 hours during school semesters serving 52 elementary, middle and high school students with support from 40 volunteers from UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College, Westford Academy students and retired teachers.