Civil Education

Cultural and Civic Misunderstandings

Many concepts and values in American culture are hard for African refugees to understand: the strong "time" orientation, individualism instead of responsibility to a community, different parent-child relationships, and a perception of "too much" freedom. Because of experiences in the home countries, many refugees carry with them a great fear of police and a distrust of government. The "how-to's" of buying and cooking food, maintaining a house, going to a doctor, or preparing a child for school are very different from life in their home countries. The American political system and the "credit" system are not familiar. This lack of familiarity with American values dearly costs the refugee. Many have lost jobs because of "being late", not realizing the high value American employers place on time. Some have been arrested because of running from police – not because of any wrong doing, but out of residual fear.

 AISEDA is working with the City of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Police Department and Schools to teach weekly classes about culture, civic issues, and provide personal meetings with people of various City departments and Civic leaders to help the refugees learn how this country works and also to let the mainstream community understand the newly resettled immigrants.

Civic Classes

Civic classes is conducted in the large classroom area and in homes. Classes includes invited speakers and field trips. Participants are introduced to law enforcement agencies, the Judiciary, firemen, various city department personnel, and others (as the need may arise) in order to learn how the city works and what a citizen can and cannot do. All classes will have translation provided if necessary. Question and answer sessions are included. Field trips are by volunteer cars to visit people or places related to the day's topic. Citizenship class information are also provided. Civic classes are held on Tuesday and Saturday from 9.00 AM – 11:00 AM.