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EMBARC and Tyson Foods Expand Access to Legal Services for Refugees

Des Moines, Iowa – October 23, 2019 – EMBARC, or Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center, announced today a $100,000 grant from Tyson Foods to fund EMBARC’s Legal Navigator Project.

This important investment from Tyson Foods will allow EMBARC to increase awareness and support for civil and immigrant legal services, as well as improve the self-sufficiency and economic stability for refugees in Iowa communities such as Waterloo, Columbus Junction, Independence and Perry, where Tyson Foods operates plants. It is often a challenge to connect the diverse refugee tribes and ethnic groups representing over 20 unique languages and cultures with the support and assistance to access to available resources.

“Services and resources are often inaccessible due to language, culture, location, costs, and lack of support,” said Henny Ohr, EMBARC’s executive director and one of the organization’s founders. “This grant from Tyson Foods is critical to providing much needed support for legal services to increase the economic mobility of refugee newcomers, and our larger community.”

Many of those who will benefit from this investment languished in refugee camps for decades and have no familiarity with modern conveniences. Refugees resettled directly to Iowa are provided only 90 days of basic services, while refugees who move to Iowa from other states receive no resettlement services at all.

Results from community conversations conducted by EMBARC revealed over 95% of participants had no access to education in the U.S. in their native language except through EMBARC. Many families do not ask for support because they have no understanding of laws or what resources are available to them.

For example, Bawi Za Muang, a Perry, Iowa, Tyson team member, fled Burma in 2007 due to severe and increasingly threatening mistreatment by the military. After struggling to survive for six years without a home, Muang, his wife and two young children, arrived in the U.S. in March 2013. Muang and his wife didn't speak English and didn’t know how to drive. They persevered and signed up for English classes and driving classes. In 2015, Muang got a job at Tyson and has been there ever since. He’s seen his wages increase, and in 2017, his family was able to buy a home. These milestones culminated in Muang and his wife obtaining citizenship with the help of EMBARC’s Legal Navigator program in 2019.

“I feel safe and feel the United States is my country now. I am very happy to be a United States citizen and am proud to work at Tyson,” said Muang. “I could not have reached this happy life without the support of Tyson, EMBARC and my family.”

“We’re proud to support EMBARC and share its belief in equipping people with skills for success and in building stronger communities,” said Garrett Dolan, senior manager, corporate social responsibility, Tyson Foods. “This investment will provide legal immigration services such as green cards and citizenship applications. We recognize these factors are critical for refugees and immigrants to thrive in America.”

EMBARC and Tyson Foods Expand Access to Legal Services for Refugees


EMBARC is Iowa’s first refugee-led nonprofit service provider, founded by and for refugees with a mission to empower refugees in expanding their success through advocacy, education, and community development. EMBARC believes that true and lasting change originates from within a community empowered to help themselves. EMBARC’s signature peer-to-peer, train-the-trainer “Navigator” framework invest in refugee leaders who learn vital information and skills to then share with peers, while helping remove barriers and build connections with the mainstream community. For more 
information, please visit

About Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 121,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit


EMBARC contact:
Henny Ohr

Tyson Foods contact:
Derek Burleson