New local nonprofit supporting and integrating immigrants in the Quad Cities

The organization received a grant to boots its Community Navigators Program.
The word ‘Akwaaba’ translates to ‘welcome,’ which they say is the organization’s main mission.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 11:05 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2023 at 11:31 AM CST
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - A new nonprofit organization in the Quad Cities focused on helping immigrants recently hosted an open house and luncheon at its office in Moline to share its mission with the public. On November 27, the organization announced that they’ve received a $20,000 grant from The Hubbell-Waterman Foundation to support its Community Navigators Program and help serve the immigrant communities in the Quad Cities.

“The person who can understand them better is an immigrant person like myself, so I see myself as I’ve been in their shoes,” said Nana Ouro-Agoro, AKWAABA QC President and CEO.

Akwaaba QC is dedicated to helping immigrants, refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers integrate into the Quad Cities community.

“They helped me get somewhere to sleep; they also provided me with a mattress and some items for my room. I still have it in my house,” said Ibrahim Conteh, who arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant with his family in 2022.

“Throughout the years, and through the needs assessment I have done in the community, I found out that language is the biggest barrier for our immigrant community to be able to integrate in the Quad Cities area,” said Ouro-Agoro.

The CEO of Akwaaba says that her own experience as an immigrant inspired her to establish the organization.

“I moved here 15 years ago; French speakers have to learn how to speak English here all this, you know, so I know what it feels to be an immigrant and be in their shoes.”

The word ‘Akwaaba’ translates to ‘welcome,’ which they say is the organization’s main mission.

“We want Akwaaba to be welcoming for everyone; we don’t want to discriminate anyone based on race, culture, ethnicity, or even language or even sex. We want everyone to be included,” said Ouro-Agoro.

The organization is led by immigrants and relies on community navigators who share the same cultural background and speak the same languages as the people they help. The emphasis on addressing language barriers, as highlighted by Ouro-Agoro, is crucial for a successful integration of the mixed immigrant community.

“We have community navigators from, you know, Asia, African, Latino, like Mexican. So, we have mixed community navigator in order for us to be able to reach the diverse community we have now in the Quad Cities.”

The organization offers employment services, guardianship assistance, interpretation and translation services, along with help accessing healthcare.