What is Project SOAR?
Project SOAR is an initiative of the International Rescue Committee, in partnership with the Nationalities Service
Center. With support from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Project SOAR provides organizations in the
United States that serve refugees with the tools they need to develop and deliver high-quality services.
We do this through a variety of technical assistance services. Some activities are open to any refugee-serving organization, including the distribution of resource materials through our listserv and website, webinar training sessions, and advisory services. Other services are exclusive to ORR grantees and their partners, including participation at our annual conference, peer learning circles, and on-site training.
We offer support in a range of technical areas including organizational planning, resource development,
partnership, board development, case management, fiscal management, and many other management
and program issues.
Need Advice, Technical Assistance, or Information on Opportunities?
1. Join our listserv
All organizations with interest in supporting refugees can join the Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBO) listserv. Listserv members receive weekly announcements about grants, conferences, trainings, and other resources of interest. Members also receive Project SOAR’s weekly tip sheets, handbooks, and adaptable tools and templates – all of which focus on helping ECBOs to build strong organizations. To subscribe at no-cost, visit www.ethniccommunities.org and click on-line form.
2. Use our website
www.ethniccommunities.org – houses a resource library, discussion board, agency spotlights, and other items of interest. Anyone can access these resources.
3. Ask us a question
Project SOAR’s team of experienced technical staff are available to provide advice, referral to SOAR’s Field Advisory Network, or linkage with a peer organization that has relevant resources to help you. Anyone can send an email to SOAR@theIRC.org or submit a TA request on www.ethniccommunities.org.
4. Attend our Webinars
Project SOAR will hosts at least 6 webinars a year – these are free training sessions you can attend from your desk via the Internet, using Elluminate. Some of the themes this year have included Monitoring, Fundraising, and Collaboration, among others. Details are distributed through our listserv, and anyone can join.
5. Attend our Annual ORR Grantee Workshop
Project SOAR hosts an annual workshop for ORR Supplemental Services for Newly-Arrived Refugees, Ethnic Self-help, and TA grantees. This workshop brings together more than 80 representatives from ethnic community-based organizations and other organizations providing refugee services, ORR managers, and ORR’s technical assistance providers to network, share best practices, and gain tools and ideas to further their refugee integration work.
6. Participate in our Customized TA Program
ORR grantees may apply for Project SOAR experts to deliver on-site training customized to their needs. Project SOAR delivers approximately 3 site visits a year. We also deliver several presentations and workshops a year at national conferences.
7. Participate in our Peer Learning Circles
Project SOAR facilitates 3 learning circles of ORR grantees and associated ethnic organizations. These are groups of peers that meet regularly via phone and internet forums to discuss best practices and problem-solve solutions to common challenges. This year’s circles included Resource Development, Conflict, and Partnership. While sessions are limited to ORR grantees, anyone can access the notes from these meetings in this site’s Resource Library.
Contact us to learn about your eligibility for these services.
The International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from Harm to home. For more information, please visit www.theirc.org.
The Nationalities Service Center
Nationalities Service Center (NSC) is a nonprofit organization that provides social, educational, senior, translation and interpretation, and legal services to immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area. Each year, we help approximately 4,000 individuals from over 90 countries. Our mission is to help immigrants and refugees participate fully in American society. We implement this mission by meeting four main objectives:
- Protecting legal rights
- Strengthening families and promoting self-sufficiency
- Eliminating barriers caused by language and cultural differences
- Promoting public awareness of the benefits of diversity in American society
All immigrants and refugees are welcome to take part in NSC services – regardless of legal status, country of origin, number of years in the U.S. and English language abilities. For more information, please visit www.nationalitiesservice.org.
The Project SOAR team
Leyla Dursunova, Program Officer, International Rescue Committee
Leyla joined IRC’s US Programs to manage Project SOAR in 2012. However, she is no stranger to Project SOAR, having worked for SOAR’s partner, Nationalities Service Center (NSC) in Philadelphia, from 2004 to 2011. She started at NSC as a Case Manager and moved on to coordinating ethnic community-building projects, including providing technical assistance under Project SOAR. She then became the Director of Development and Communications at NSC, remaining active in Project SOAR TA activities. Prior to NSC, Leyla worked on projects for Afghan women refugees in Uzbekistan with Mercy Corps. Leyla is a recipient of the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation Social Work Fellowship and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, having completed practices at New York State Psychiatric Institute and the World Rehabilitation Fund. She speaks Russian, and conversational Turkish, Uzbek, and Tadjik.
Juliane Ramic, Director of Social Services, Nationalities Service Center (NSC)
Juliane joined NSC in 2004. She oversees the agency’s services to refugees, asylees and survivors of torture and victims of trafficking, including services to individuals and families, group work, and ethnic community building. Prior to joining NSC, she worked at Immigration & Refugee Services of America (IRSA now USCRI) where she worked on projects funded by PRM, ORR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Juliane’s extensive work with refugees includes work in local communities, national organizations and refugee camps in east Africa. She holds an MSW from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.