The ECDC Multicultural Community Center was established in Brattleboro in 2021 under the auspices of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the world’s only refugee-led resettlement organization, and one of only 9 agencies authorized by the State Department to settle refugees in the United States.

The Brattleboro office coordinates all activities related to local refugee resettlement.  Our goal is to build a welcoming community where refugees feel at home, and their contributions to the local economy, culture and vitality are valued.

To that end, the ECDC Multicultural Community Center celebrates both Afghan and Vermont traditions, stressing that each culture has something to offer, and that learning and appreciating new customs is a bonding experience that brings vitality to a community. “One reason why Vermont was selected for refugee resettlement is the state’s well-known openness to newcomers,” says Huddleston. “Making refugees feel welcome is fundamental to our mission.”

The ECDC Multicultural Center recognizes that community integration involves more than serving the needs of refugees. We also work with local service groups, churches, community leaders, social workers and educators to provide information, and cultural training, so Vermonters can gain a deeper understanding of refugee needs, as well as Afghan culture and customs.

“Community integration is a two-way street.,” says Joe Wiah. “Each of us is coming from a different place, but we can meet in the middle, where we have shared interests. That’s how communities become enriched, stronger and closer-knit.”