The Montagnard Dega Association (MDA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1987 by Dega people to assist with the resettlement of Dega refugees in the United States. The North Carolina Division of Social Services recognizes MDA as a refugee service provider. MDA works in cooperation with local refugee mutual assistance agencies, national, state and local government, churches, community groups and refugee resettlement agencies throughout North Carolina.
We are based in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, with a satellite office in Charlotte, NC. This region represents the largest population of Montagnards outside our Central Highlands homeland in Vietnam. Historically MDA has focused its efforts on helping the Montagnard people living in NC. In the last few years it became apparent that our experience and knowledge was needed to help refugees from all over southeast Asia and MDA began expanding its services to all newly arrived refugees from southeast Asia.
Montagnard culture is an ancient one. We have lived for centuries in Southeast Asia, long before foreigners ever touched our shores. When the Vietnamese overran the coastline, we settled peacefully in the mountains known today as the Central Highlands. The term Montagnard means “mountain people” in French and is often used to refer to us, the indigenous people of the region. “Dega” is a Rhade term chosen by MDA to represent all the Montagnard tribes in the USA.
The Montagnard Dega Association (MDA) was established in 1987 as a non-profit corporation in North Carolina by our leaders in the United States. MDA is a nonpolitical, nonpartisan organization. We are dedicated to helping all refugees regardless of their tribal, language, or religious affiliation. Our goals are to preserve the rich history and culture of all the Dega people and unite to strengthen the fraternal ties among all people.
Our services include English and citizenship classes, transportation assistance, employment training, job development and follow up, interpretation and translation and case management. Our goal is to assist our clients in achieving self-sufficiency which includes adjustment to life in the USA, being self-reliant, contributing members in their neighborhoods and communities, and ultimately earning American citizenship.