Hubert Matumaini sees a problem that needs solving in Dayton, his home of 13 years: the language barrier. He’s already bridging it in certain settings. A leader in Dayton’s Burundian community, he coordinates the public schools’ welcome center, offering classes in English as a second language to new students and their parents.
Now, with entrepreneurship training from AFSC, he is starting a translation business to help African immigrants carry out critical conversations in doctors’ offices, school systems, and courts, where miscommunication could lead to serious damage.
The Burundi team at the soccer games. Back row (left to right): Nsabimana Dieudonne, Nijebariko Damiyano, Hubert Matumaini, Santino M., Pascal Muhiziwintore, Kali N., Yolo K., Roston Kanyembo, Ruben C. Front row: Elias Bizimana, Lumbala Moses, Emmanuel Makamu, Mohamed Ahmed, Paul Ngendakuriyo, Paul M.
Dayton, Ohio is making a statement: Ours is a city where everyone can contribute. Its 2011 Welcome Dayton resolution to be an immigrant-friendly city takes a positive, economically driven approach to integrating immigrants into the community as part of the city’s recovery.
But the resolution did more than make space for immigrant friendly policies; it is also building community among neighbors in a place that suffers from racial segregation and alienation.
From Fortune 500 companies to spelling bees and science fairs, immigrants and their children figure prominently as achievers, entrepreneurs and innovators across our country. They also make enormous contributions to the economy.
Migwe Kimemia came to the United States in 1998, and has worked for AFSC in Dayton, OH since 2002.
After a multi-year campaign highlighting the positive contributions of immigrants and refugees to the Greater Dayton, Ohio community, the city made history recently by unanimously approving a comprehensive “Welcome Dayton” plan. Dayton officials say the plan focuses on making the community “one that treats all people kindly, fairly and humanely,” as Mayor Gary Leitzell put it.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.