A group of refugees received New York State certifications to open their own in home daycare centers Friday. The seven aspiring business owners were among three groups this year to receive certifications through the Buffalo Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Project.
Program Specialist for the Buffalo Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Project Shannon Linehan says the program is helping to fill a crucial need for childcare for thousands of refugees in the city.
“At Journey’s End we see the need for childcare in our employment department. We have a whole department that’s devoted to finding refugee jobs so that they can be self sustaining and get off of welfare. A lot of the time the problem is that they have children at home. The mom stays at home and they’re not able to get those duties alleviated in order to go to work. So, now that these culturally and linguistically centers are open it provides that outlet,” said Linehan.
Childcare Resource Network Education Specialist Michelle Wilson says students received intensive business management, record keeping, and safety training to establish their new businesses.
“They go through a whole entire process. Their home is inspected, they learn about cleaning and sanitizing toys, and New York State health guidelines. They also learn about behavior management. Everything that goes into helping support children,” said Wilson.
Wilson says the daycare's will provide culturally appropriate childcare options for refugees in the community.
The new entrepreneurs also received sub-grant funding to open their childcare centers. Graduate Eh Sher is from Burma. She says she’s excited to open her daycare.
“This is going to be my own business. So, I really like this program,” said Sher. “I’m ready. I’ve prepared everything. I will open in about December or January.”
Linehan says the graduates must receive technical training first, but are able to take on their first clients right away. The Childcare Microenterprise Project was administered through Journey’s End Refugee Services, the Childcare Resource Network, and Jewish Family Services.