OMAHA, Neb. (KMTv) — Right now, there are nearly 140,000 thousand immigrants in Nebraska, about 7% of the population.
Many immigrants move to the U.S. not knowing the language or anything else about the country.
A group of men saw a need and are now working to help make that transition easier.
They're offering programs created by immigrants with other immigrants top of mind.
When an immigrant comes to the United States, learning the language is challenging but necessary.
“Language is the key to cultural integration,” said Pierre Sagitteh, who knows that firsthand. ”I am an immigrant myself and actually a refugee.”
Sagitteh was born and raised in West Africa but now calls Omaha home.
This year, he helped create the Heartland Immigration Center where immigrants learn to read and study American culture.
Kokovi Amouzou is from Togo, Africa, and is learning all about Nebraska and U.S. history, along with her rights and responsibilities.
“That's huge because people come from various backgrounds and they have no idea what their rights are or even what their responsibilities are and they have to rely on others to pieces and bits of information,” said Sagitteh.
Here, immigrants also get affordable civic and citizenship lessons.
“We charge 10% of what actual filing form fees are. So citizenship and naturalization is $640 dollars. We charge $64,” said Jonson Mahathath, a founder of the Heartland Immigration Center.
Sagitteh wishes there had been a resource like this when he arrived in the U.S.
“It would have been a tremendous help,” Sagitteh said.
Heartland Immigration Center also offers trauma counseling in addition to their civic and English language classes.
Contact the Heartland Immigration Center at 402-885-9979 or visit their website here.
Pitch Black is a business competition that features local business owners and start-ups who are competing for a chance to win $10,000.
If you'd like to watch the final round of the Pitch Black competition in person, it will be held on August 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Omaha.
For a ticket to the event, go to the Midlands African Chamber's website.
KMTV's Serese Cole will be emceeing the finale.
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