PORTLAND, Maine — Prosperity Maine is a group that provides financial literacy, language, education, and housing resources for new Mainers.
On Monday, the group celebrated 10 years of helping new Mainers establish themselves in Maine and make a positive impact on their community.
"They’re not seeking only asylum. They are now employed, they are business owners, they are community members integrated in this society," said Claude Rwaganje.
Claude Rwaganje is the executive director of Prosperity Maine. He founded the organization a decade ago to empower immigrants with financial literacy classes. Prosperity Maine also organizes language, education, and employment resources for the community.
"We have helped many businesses. We have helped people gain employment. We are helping people go to college so that they can succeed," Rwaganje said.
Prosperity ME gives two-year college scholarships to asylum-seeking Mainers. This year, the organization received 53 applications and awarded 11 scholarships.
Students say this scholarship is the support they need to establish themselves and reach their goals.
"I am about to finish SMCC and then move into USM, which is double the cost of SMCC. And I was just asking myself, 'Where the hell am I going to get the money for it because I am not eligible for financial aid or any other government grant?'" said student Toussaint Christel Falagani. "And when they gave me the scholarship, I was like, 'This is the dream.'"
Student Stephanie Lumu said she's inspired by the triumphs of so many new Mainers in the community.
"It inspires me to work hard, and, you know take over. I know they’re going to get old, and we are the future of tomorrow -- so we are going to work hard and get over there," Lumu said.
For more information on Prosperity Maine and the services they provide for asylum-seekers and new Mainers, click here.