Originally established as the Sudanese Community & Women’s Services Center, the Nashville International Center for Empowerment was renamed in spring of 2010, a name which more fully represents the services we provide and the community we serve. Since our founding, we have expanded to serve people from more than 50 different nations across the Nashville area, with most of our clients being of African and Middle Eastern descent. We aim to increase our clients’ abilities to effectively read, write, and speak English, facilitating long-term independence and stability by leading to sustainable employment and self-sufficiency for adults and ongoing academic achievement for children, thereby addressing the underlying issues contributing to poverty in our community. Our programs are offered to legal permanent residents with refugee, ayslee, or immigrant statuses.
Fundamental to the mission of NICE is the elimination of the root causes of poverty within greater Nashville’s refugee and immigrant community, the creation of opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility, and the social integration of those it serves. Clients are encouraged and even challenged to think beyond their current circumstances and discuss long-term goals. NICE makes every effort to establish the foundation necessary to achieve these goals by placing clients in educational and employment environments that are conducive to ultimate success.
In 2005, our organization was founded by a group of Sudanese refugee men and women, including current director Gatluak Ter Thach, who desired to help other refugees and immigrants living in Middle Tennessee. Many of the center’s founders came to the United States in the 1990s after having experienced life in the severely war-torn Sudan with the goal of finding a safe place to live, work, and raise families with dignity. However, because of the war, most of the Sudanese refugee population that came to the U.S. had little educational experience which made their resettlement extremely difficult. The experiences of these founders prompted the creation of NICE in an attempt to provide others with skills that would facilitate independence and self‐sufficiency in their new home.
A Letter from the President & CEO: Gatluak Ter Thach
|Gatluak Ter Thach,
President & CEO
Greater Nashville continues to see an incredible influx of refugees and immigrants from all over the world, and demand for refugee services rises accordingly. The challenges faced by the NICE target population are often exacerbated by “mainstream” support systems that often do not account for the steep access problems facing non-native English speakers, the majority of whom are unfamiliar with American culture. I can testify to this myself. While the primary goal of NICE remains the empowerment of refugees and immigrants through English literacy, increasing demand for a wider range of services has led to the diversification of NICE offerings.