OUR HISTORY

IRCCW started in 1998, when the first wave of Iraqi refugees arrived from the refugee camp in Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War. There were no services in Arabic at all, and soon it was time for many of us to apply for their citizenship, though many had no idea about the process.

Our founder and Executive Director, Yahya Algarib, felt the urge to do something about this and started an ESL program.

Since 2000, IRCCW has been embedded in the Iraqi and larger refugee community. IRCCW differs from the other refugee services because our staff and volunteers are from the community and have been refugees themselves, including our board of directors. We have 13 paid staff and rely on experienced volunteers to provide services throughout the community. The services we provide are highly intensive and help clients obtain self-sufficiency.

 

We are well respected within the community, and have been very successful in engaging families through our home visitor programs with parents, Arabic language school, system navigation and refugee orientation programs, after school programming and a holistic approach to family and individual case management.  

Over the past three years, IRCCW assisted over 1500 individuals,
of which 91% were Arabic speaking, Muslim, from the Middle East
or a combination of the three.

 

The Arabic speaking and Muslim refugee communities often seek our services when their initial assistance from resettlement agencies runs out. We strive to be a community-centered bastion of hope for these groups and we work hard to meet our clients’ needs. We are competent in our leadership’s ability to provide services to these communities because we are an organization founded, supported, and led by members of the communities we serve.

 

Most of our program take place at our office and community space in Kent, WA and a smaller satellite office and gathering space in White Center, Seattle, WA. Currently, the IRCCW offers a BSK-funded Home Visitor Program and the United Way funded Community Home Design program that serves youth ages pre-natal to 5 years old. Both programs are at or above capacity with more than 70 families enrolled currently. 

 

IRCCW also provides English and Arabic classes, early child development training, and counseling referral services. We also have programs that are centered on Iraqi culture such as senior wellbeing services (hot culturally appropriate meals and connecting seniors to resources that teach them to be self-reliant), youth soccer and dance programs. Over the last few years, we have begun community outreach through voter registration and we annually host community and holiday events that generally receive hundreds in attendance, including local groups.