The RCC was founded by Nasir Zakaria, it’s current executive director, in 2016. Nasir came to the United States as a refugee from Malaysia. He escaped persecution in Burma when he was 14 by travelling to Bangladesh. After living in India and Thailand, he registered with the UNHCR while living in Malaysia. He was accepted for relocation to the US in 2013 and arrived in Chicago that year. He saw that he and his fellow refugees lacked a place to come together and learn the ways of their new homeland. There was no pre-existing Rohingya diaspora in the US and almost everyone was a refugee. With the help of Zakat Foundation and several volunteers, and while working odd jobs at night, Nasir established the RCC.
One of only a few Rohingya organizations in the country, RCC is well-known by Rohingya in the diaspora. It started by addressing immediate basic needs – providing information and practical assistance, homework help for children, and a place where the community could come together. The Center has been steadily expanding its service offerings to meet the needs of the growing refugee population in Chicago. It now has adult ESL classes with childcare for parents, a citizenship class, provides casework, employment assistance, and several your sports programs. RCC also assists new families, and provides translations for medical centers and local schools. It sponsors Iftar during all 30 days of Ramadan, seeks out Zakat funds and distributes them, as well as handles donations of food, winter coats, etc.