Manal Elzeen and her family left Sudan to seek asylum in the U.S. resettling in Fort Wayne, IN. Before leaving her country, Manal taught high school economics and accounting. Many things have been difficult for her family and Manal says that it has been a challenge to help her family adjust to all the changes that life has brought to them. However, Manal has an insatiable desire to learn and improve herself even though it has meant starting over. She is now using her financial background and expertise to operate her own family child care business.
Offering child care in her home is allowing her to be with her four children while she supports them financially. Manal hopes to care for children from her neighborhood as well as those from her religious community. She is already teaching children at a nearby mosque and hopes to provide religious training as well as to teach Arabic to the children in her child care.
Manal heard about the federal home child care grant made available through the Office of Refugee Resettlement and was eager to get involved. She became certified, meeting basic health and safety requirements for child care and immediately began caring for children. She decided she wanted to go beyond certification and meet the additional requirements for licensing which includes getting a Child Development Associate credential. She has already submitted her application for licensing. Manal’s husband who was unable to find a job in Fort Wayne, is driving a taxi in New York City and hopes to move back to assist with her family child care business after she becomes licensed and is able to increase the number of children in her care.
Manal worked with the Burmese Advocacy Center to complete certification requirements. American Red Cross provided CPR and First Aid training which were two of the necessary requirements. She has completed business classes provided through Early Childhood Alliance as well as ordered materials and equipment to use with the children. She hopes to provide a rich outdoor play experience for children and was able to purchase a sandbox and swing set plus many other materials that can be used indoors with children.
Manal says, “If you want to get anywhere in this life you need to work hard and learn more. This is an opportunity to receive the support needed to be successful. I want to make my business great!”
ORR's Microenterprise Development – Home-Based Childcare Program provides business opportunities to refugee women in a market where there is a shortage of childcare providers.