ECDC was established in 1983 as a non-profit community-based organization to respond to the needs of a growing Ethiopian community in the US. It has since evolved into national non-governmental organization authorized by the U.S. Department of State to resettle refugees with offices across the country, including in Brattleboro, VT.
ECDC is excited to pilot co-sponsorship programs at its local offices. Co-sponsorship creates opportunities for communities to play a key role in supporting refugees and other forcibly displaced individuals as they settle into their new homes. Learn more about forming or joining a co-sponsorship group at the ECDC's website.
In Local News
BURLINGTON, Vermont (May 2023) — As rain waited to fall above downtown Burlington on Saturday, dozens of protesters held red and yellow Tigrayan flags up against the clouded sky.
Marching down Church Street, the group had come together to speak out against genocide in a northern region of Ethiopia called Tigray, which has killed over half a million people in just over two years and received strikingly little global attention.
The demonstration, co-led by Burlington High School graduate Meron “Alex” Segar-Reid and others, marked the third such event in Burlington since war in Tigray began on Nov. 3, 2020 — a moment at which much of the Western world was focused on the U.S. presidential election.
Since then, a staggering number of Tigrayans — members of an ethnic minority that make up some 7% of Ethiopia’s population — have been murdered at the hands of the Ethiopian government and allied Eritrean forces, experiencing a level of brutality that Human Rights Watch has said amounts to ethnic cleansing.
BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (Feb 2023) — U.S. Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., has seen many hopeful stories of refugees fleeing oppression for new lives in her home state. On Monday, she heard the flip side. Take the Afghan mother and father now in Bennington who’ve waited a year and counting to be reunited with two of their children still half a world away. “Boys, ages 14 and 15,” they said through a translator. “There is no one to take care of them.”
Or consider the Guatemalan woman, trained as a lawyer, who arrived in Brattleboro to learn she had to delay English lessons to find a job or risk deportation. “Right now, I’m working as a packer,” she said in Spanish. “I can’t look for better opportunities because I can’t speak the language.”
Southern Vermont has welcomed almost 120 refugees in the past year with the help of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, a resettlement agency funded by the U.S. State Department.
BENNINGTON, Vermont (Sept 2022) — Approximately 260 Afghan refugees have resettled around Vermont in the past year, and the state is open to receiving hundreds more from various countries through October 2023.
BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (July 2022) — A U.S. State Department-sponsored delegation of 10 migration professionals from Central and South America came to Brattleboro recently to learn about a landmark program that is changing the paradigm for refugee resettlement in the United States.
Coverage of local resettlement experiences
This 1.5 hour episode of America Reframed on PBS profiles an attempt to settle Syrian refugees and invigorate the economically struggling and predominantly white town of Rutland, VT. Despite a lifetime of feeling invalidated and shamed for her poverty and addiction, long-time Rutland resident, Stacie, emerges as an unexpected and resilient leader in a town divided by class, cultural values and political leanings.
A documentary that follows the Azein family from their arrival in the US in 2017, just as an administration hostile to refugees is sworn in.
Over 2.5 years they will transition from isolation to being part of a larger, thriving community in Utica, NY.