WHO WE ARE
Born on May 30th, 2013 as a response to the crucial and growing need for a stronger support system for African refugee families and other African families as well as individuals in Central Florida, Africans Family and Community Outreach, Inc. (AFCO) has come to be known as the Organization whose services to the families and individuals are centered on cultural orientation, advocacy and Community building.
African refugee and immigrants throughout the world, in U.S.A. and particularly in Central Florida, reached a significant number in the past 20 years; this number was expected to double or even triple in the next 5 to 10 years. Local governments and agency resettlement programs are the main service providers and do what they can within their power and limit. Difficulties and challenges in cultural orientation, spiritual, emotional and social support these families and individuals face during their first two to three years of resettlement in Central Florida have persisted and remained quite challenging. The lack of a sustained emotional support, cultural orientation and mentorship, effective learning of English, access to healthcare and education for themselves and for their children is the main causes of serious instability and dysfunctional life among them.
Most Africans immigrants, refugees in particular come to the USA from very traumatizing situations of war and poverty. The lack of a smooth cultural orientation and mentorship during their first years in their country of resettlement easily act as a setback to fear, disorientation, isolation, marginalization, discouragement, disillusion, anger, more traumas, and a disequilibrium that can have long lasting effects in their lives. Cases of health problems, domestic violence, and other forms of domestic abuses and scarcity of jobs are frequent among them.
The vulnerability, ignorance and innocence that come with being a refugee, an immigrant and a stranger present great challenge to all of us and call for a sustained support for this group of people. AFCO comes in as a support, advocacy, educational and cultural support network.
AFCO largely believe in the famous Roman expression “Nothing about Us without Us” President Nelson Mandela echo these words by saying, “What is done for us, without us, is against us”. Encouraging, inviting, and allowing different members of the local Community to get involved in matters that concern them is a fundamental path to justice and peace that has been undermined for centuries. Today, this path is more than an imperative for the attainment of Peaceful family and Community as we engage African refugees and immigrants, not just as service beneficiaries, but also as Community service partners. “Whether the world seems a pleasant or a hostile place is largely the result of the cumulative impression of seemingly insignificant daily encounters.”
Rev. Gabriel M. Ipasu