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.

Read more: Civil Education

ESL Program

Fort Wayne, like many other communities across the nation, is home to a significant number of new Americans (refugees and other immigrants). These new Americans and their families contribute to both the diversity and the economy of the region, offering the potential for a vibrant, productive, and healthy local community. Yet, these new Americans (especially the refugees) face several barriers to social, health, and economic well-being. Some of these barriers are created by being disproportionately in low-income bracket and uninsured. Others are unique, such as cultural and linguistic barriers, limited eligibility (both perceived and real) for public benefits, and bearing the brunt of unfamiliar public views, attitudes, and policies. AISEDA believes that addressing these barriers will not only benefit the immigrant population, but in turn will also strengthen the local community, and, by extension, the nation.

Read more: ESL Program