Anju Jain was born in India. She moved to Iowa in 2014 and worked in a factory printing labels on t-shirts. She was a victim of an abusive husband and within a few years she was able to build the courage and leave. She came to Chicago in 2017 to seek a fresh start. It was a struggle for Anju since she had no job, no money and no family support. Her biggest fear was to live in the streets and go hungry. Thanks to a few nonprofit organizations, she was able to receive housing assistance, learn some English skills and IAC’s workforce department has been able to place Anju on a full-time job working with seniors. We couldn’t be more proud of Anju’s hard work and courage. Recently, she has enrolled in advanced English classes and we look forward to seeing what her next chapter of her life will look like.
Sejal first visited IAC back in January 2012. She was one of IAC’s first clients registered in the Workforce Development Program. Sejal had just moved to the US and was looking to find work and improve her English. She registered with the Adult Literacy Program and progressed from Level 2 to Level 3 quickly. She then completed IAC’s advanced workforce training and was placed in a teller position at a local bank. Over the past few years, she has used her training to find progressively advanced opportunities in the financial sector. Currently, she is a Personal Banker at Republic Bank and uses her language skills to serve the South Asian community. She frequently returns to IAC to conduct financial literacy workshops within our Seniors’ Program.
When asked about IAC’s impact on her life, Sejal said: “I would have been lost without IAC.” When she came to the US, she had no idea where to go or what to do. Her aunt brought her to IAC and she felt “so comfortable” from the first visit. IAC gave her a safe place to learn and she is very thankful for the support of staff. “The best thing about IAC is the staff. They try so hard to help everyone.” Today, Sejal is one of IAC’s best ambassadors in the community. Every time she encounters a new immigrant at her job, she refers them to IAC for services.
“We are very thankful for the Center. I encourage all the people I meet to come to the Center and take part in the programs and enjoy.”
Maganbhai came to the U.S. to live with his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Coming from a simple life in the village of Chikhli, India, he saw more temples than skyscrapers. Now, moving halfway across the world to live with his family meant that he left his whole life behind: friends, traditions, and home. His daughter, understanding this, recommended that he come to the IAC for the community and to make use of our programs in 2010.
Maganbhai eagerly signed up for the English classes at the Center. He wanted to speak confidently in his new home and, most of all, help his grandchildren with their homework. Learning about American culture, geography, and history meant that he could lend a helping hand to his grandchildren as they start toward their own “American dream.”
Maganbhai came to the U.S. to live with his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Coming from a simple life in the village of Chikhli, India, he saw more temples than skyscrapers. Now, moving halfway across the world to live with his family meant that he left his
whole life behind: friends, traditions, and home. His daughter, understanding this, recommended that he come to the IAC for the community and to make use of our programs in 2010.
When he was growing up, Maganbhai’s parents emphasized reading and play. Now, he had the chance to pass on those values to his own grandchildren, but a language barrier needed to be broken down first. Understanding the language his grandchildren spoke in most frequently was the bridge to becoming a more active caregiver and involved grandparent.
He and his wife, Gajaraben, also come to the Seniors’ Program to see new and old friends and to make use of their cultural programs. “We are very thankful for the Center,” he says, “I encourage all the people I meet to come to the Center and take part in the programs and
enjoy. The staff at the IAC are very nice and helpful.”
One thing he hopes for the IAC is that it can expand to a larger building to help more people. In fact, Maganbhai identifies “living a better life” as a big reason he started to come to the IAC and he wants the Center
to expand to help more people achieve what he has: social community, communication with those in his new home, and the ability to help his family be more closely
“The Seniors’ Program is great for company. Don’t stay alone at home, you’ll go crazy! It’s better to go out, get some fresh air. Come to the Center and meet a few friends.”
Mangesh used to live in the heart of Mumbai. As the economic center of India, something was always happening and people were always everywhere. Life was good for Mangesh in India, he got a coveted top-ranking position in the government, he had a great salary, his own house, and a great standard of living. However, being a researcher meant that he had to wait for months to get materials from the U.S. So, he decided to move.
When he came to the U.S. (against the wishes of his mother since he was the baby in the family), his science career continued to progress. He’s had an exceptional career here in the U.S., but now that he is getting older, he is looking for more activities to do in his leisure time.
Though he amused himself at the library, he found it boring after a few hours. He was introduced to the IAC when his daughter was searching for a volunteer position. Mangesh was delighted to find all of the programs.
He started with the Seniors’ Program. “The library gets boring after a few hours. The Seniors’ Program is great for company. Don’t stay alone at home, you’ll go crazy! It’s better to go out, get some fresh air. Come to the Center and meet a few friends,” he advises.
From the Seniors’ Program, Mangesh has started to take advantage of more of the Center’s offerings, enrolling in the Computer Program to learn more and connect. He also joined the Workforce Development Program. His desire? “I want to go back to work. Return to the research field.” The investment of time and energy in this top-notch scientist means that, instead of having a man, sitting alone waiting for his family to come home, we have an engaged, forward-thinking participant in society with so much left to give. He joined the company and made a few friends, but he saw the potential of learning and bettering himself with the other programs.As we all know, moving across the world can be
Mangesh is a certain success story in the traditional sense of the word, but as his life slowed down, he found he didn’t want to slow down with it. The Indo-American Center provided the gateway for him to have a bustling social life, interact with his peers, learn new skills and sharpen old ones. Mangesh is one of the faces of the IAC because, like many of our clients, he came for one thing and ended up with so much more!