African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation

AfricanImmigrant and Refugee Foundation

Immigrantsand refugees in a new world are faced with numerous challenges asthey try to adjust and settle in countries away from theirmotherlands. Some of the main challenge includes cultural andlinguistic differences that they encounter in the new world. Althoughthe American society is considered to be one of the most diversesocieties in the world, new immigrants and refugees into the UnitedStates are faced with numerous challenges. If there are noindividuals and organizations who dedicate their resources to assistnew immigrants into the United States, the process of settling inAmerican would be complex and traumatizing (Miriam, 2012). This paperlooks at the role of the “”in helping African immigrants and refugees in the transition into theAmerican life.

The“” was established basedon this understanding. The founder of the non governmentalorganization had an experience of the challenges faced by Africanimmigrants moving into the United States and made a decision to helpother Africans in their transition into the American life. Thecommunity based organization was established with an aim of providingsocial, cultural, linguistic, health and job placement for Africansmoving into the United States for various reasons (AIRFwebsite).

The“” uses several missionsto achieve main goals. This includes activities that enable newAfrican immigrants and refugees’ transit into the American lifesuch as cultural awareness seminars and education, survival skills,cultural competence and counseling of individuals. The organizationhas a wide range of donors which includes immigrants and refugees whohave settled in the United States and the directors of the foundationamong other donors. Over the years, the organization has evolved intoa world class non governmental organization providing transitionservices to Africans moving into the United States. The success ofthe organization is powered by the dedicated and experienced staffthe foundation has acquired in the last one and half decade. Thefoundation has also established partnership with other communitybased organizations with similar undertakings in order to increase iteffectiveness though resources and information sharing (AIRFwebsite).

The“” is an organizationformed by African immigrant to assist other African immigrants andrefugees in the United States. From its website( mission is to “facilitate the effective transition of AfricanImmigrant to American society and to support their productive,sustainable integration into their new homeland”. Also theorganization’s vision is to “provide leadership to the socialwelfare community and relevant civic and government agencies in theWashington metropolitan area and culturally and linguisticallyappropriate services to African Immigrant and refugees”. Theprograms of the “” areguided by the core values of the organization (AIRFwebsite).

The“” was established in theyear 2000 by an African immigrant, Wanjiru Kamau, from Kenya. Basedon her experienced when she arrived in the United States as a youngimmigrant student, she decided to start a community basedorganization to assist fellow African immigrants and refugees. Theorganization main aim was to assist the African immigrants in theirtransition into the American society by providing services thatfacilitate sustainable integration into the new way of life.Additionally, the existence of numerous African refugees into theUnited States cities, some of whom had not lived in the urban centerscreated a need for the formation of an African community basedorganization to help them in their transition. In the early 2000s,there was an influx of political and economic refugees from theAfrican countries into the United States (AIRFwebsite).The trauma, physical and economic conditions of these refugees madeit difficult to adopt into the American society. This resulted intosuffering, isolation and hopelessness making their situation in thenew land difficult. Since the foundation was established, it hasbecome an oasis of hope for numerous African moving into the UnitedStates for wide range of reasons. The “African Immigrant andRefugee Foundation” has partnered with other community basedorganizations and volunteers provide skills, job placements andsocial support to new arrivals in the United States. This empowermenthas provided a smooth transition into the new way of life.Additionally, the foundation provides cultural training to differentworkers in the service industry and caregiving to enhanceintercultural skills (AIRFwebsite).

Thereis no doubt that the services provided by the “African Immigrantand Refugee Foundation” in the United States are in high demand.Statistics indicates that the number of immigrants moving into theunited states from African countries have surpassed the numbers fromother regions. Although African immigrants in the United States areless that two million, out of the over eleven million immigrants, thenumber is increasing at a very high rate. The population of Africanimmigrants into DC Metropolitan, the main region where “AfricanImmigrant and Refugee Foundation” operates, increased by about onehundred and fifty percent between the year 2000 and 2010. This isdespite the economic challenges that have faced the United States inthe past one decade. The number of Africans arriving from the Africancontinent is expected to increase in the new few years. Yet, thereare no enough service agencies and community organization thatunderstand the cultural background of the new arrivals. Although someAfrican immigrants are prepared for the new challenge, a good numberof them are refugees who have no time to prepare for life abroad.Additionally, professionals and students arriving into the UnitedStates require some form of orientation in the new world, despite howlong they took to prepare for it (AIRFwebsite).

Theorganization has identified special need immigrants and refugees inits area of operations, especially young refugees. According to thefindings by “”, youngimmigrants are more likely to be faced with intergenerationalcommunication challenges which impacts negatively on theirintegration into the new way of life. Majority of these youngrefugees have had their life disrupted before they gain enough skillsto deal with the challenges in life. For example, family and academiclives could have been disrupted by political or economic instabilitythat forced out of their mother lands. Therefore, they requirespecialized support and guidance to adjust into the new educationsystem, culture and family structures. Improper orientation andguidance will result into frustrations and hopelessness (AIRFwebsite).

Toachieve its vision, “”has several programs. The programs are designed to address theimmediate needs of the new immigrants and refuges arriving in theUnited States to ease their transition. One of their integratedprograms is the catching up program which targets school goingimmigrants and refuging. The effects political instability, war andeconomic challenges as well as family separation among young refugeesare a major hindrance to academic adjustment. By the time some ofthese refugees reach the United States, education is not an option.The program enables the young individuals to continue with theiracademic journey and catch up with the system at their own pace. Thefoundation has partnered with the Department of Health and HumanServices as well as educational institutions to increase theeffectiveness of the program. Other programs targeting the youthsinclude the “in-school mentoring program” and “Saturdaytutoring program”. The “in-school mentoring program” ensuresthat the young individual maintains their cultural and ethnicidentity. Through the program, the students are engaged in activitiesand discussions through which they are able to learn from other olderand experienced African immigrants. Together with “Saturdaytutoring program”, the “in-school mentoring program” is aimedat promoting academic transition and success (AIRFwebsite).

Thefoundation has also devised programs that enhance integration andsharing among African immigrant. These programs enable the Africanimmigrant to orient the new entrants into the new way of life. Forexample, the “I know who I am” gives immigrants and refugees aplatform to for peers and share their experiences and cultures withother people. The “Youth Art Beat” program provides culturalenrichment where the young people are able to showcase their culturalidentities through art and music. Other programs include the“CommunityResource &amp Referral Services”and “AnnualYouth Leadership and Education Conference” (AIRF website).

Inconclusion, the “” is theideal non governmental community based organization that seeks toaddress a pertinent issue in the society. Immigrants and refugees,especially the young, are faced with numerous challenges as theytransit into a new society. The foundation provides a safe haven forimmigrants and refugees who would otherwise be faced with a hard timeadapting to the American life.


AfricanImmigrant and Refugee Foundation” website,

Miriam,Potocky-Tripodi, Bestpractices for social work with refugees and immigrants,New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Print.