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Monday, September 26, 2022

New centre to help Gambians, other African migrants in US

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The African Immigrant community is facing complex, threatening and rapidly changing challenges, thus the need for unity; good leadership and the efficient management of diversity and interdependence have become extremely important.

To address the ever-complex challenges African immigrants face in the USA, the Africans living in the US have joined forces and established the Center for African Empowerment (CFAE), a non-profit organization. The organization whose mission is empowering and advancing the welfare of African immigrants through the provision of timely information and services to address critical challenges they often encounter such as immigration issues, housing, difficulty in securing jobs and integration into the American society was officially registered as a 501 (1) (3) in March 2017.

According to the chairperson of the centre, Ousman Manjang, the sole aim of the centre is to equip Africans both in the US and those intending to migrate to the US in search, housing, schools and documentation processes.
“These will provide endless opportunities for them in the US and ease the burden of challenges faced while trying to integrate into the American society,” he added.

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With current registered membership of about 150 people, CFAE has its headquarters in the Bronx, New York City. Most often than not, Africans living in the US don’t get accurate and timely relevant information and a little mistake due to bad immigration advice leads them to problems that ruin their lives and even sometimes be a major setback in their efforts to secure residency status in the US. Hence, the need for an organisation whose role will be to provide guidance and support to African immigrants on their issues related to immigration processes; job searches and housing; career development and skills building; and promote unity among African immigrants.

The existence of CFAE will not only help minimize the danger of wrong guidance and problems encountered by African immigrants but would also positively guide and support them towards acquiring legal status, access housing and job, and successfully integrate into the US society without much difficulty, and increase understanding among African immigrants on US laws and regulation.

The organization envisions a hub in the USA with regional centers in Africa that will be dedicated to advancing the welfare of Africans living in the US, Africa and around the world.
One notable initiative set aside by CFAE is to create a conducive or enabling working condition that would ensure its members operate in an effective environment free from discrimination, violence based on one’s race, gender, status or any form of discriminatory related issue that may deter them from realizing their desired goals and aspirations.

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Much has been going on since the formation of CFAE, one of the fastest growing multi-platform non-profit organizations in the US. In achieving its common goals, team work, harmony, communication, operational intelligence has been the hallmark of CFAE. Since its inception, CFAE has laid down a real marker and a defined path in what it has achieved so far and what’s in store. It has successfully facilitated job search and recruitment for at least 30 individuals from different African countries, making significant impacts in the lives of those individuals and their families.

“In 2014, I arrived in United States from The Gambia. I was undecided and tried several unsettled jobs. At some point, I got really frustrated and wanted to return to my country. But in 2015, that changed. I got introduced to one Kebba Jobe, a very supportive man who I later found out to be a member of CFAE. He did not only help in finding me a decent job with Duane Reade Pharmacy but also became a mentor and brother I constantly count on for advice in the areas of immigration, education and more. That’s the same spirit I found with CFAE when I registered with the organization” said Abdoulie, a resident of the Bronx, New York.

Further to that, CFAE has put in place a functional website (www.cfaeusa.org) and has a dedicated executive committee and constituted a board of advisers to allow the organization to remain productive and result oriented. The organization is officially recognized and given a Non-profit status by regulatory bodies such as the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and the State and City of New York. CFAE has gone a step further in opening an official bank account. The executive also holds regular weekly gatherings to measure performance and effect positive changes when and where needed. The organization is working on establishing a community resource center where African immigrants will access timely information and guidance, provided with skills training and professional development, and job and housing information.

CFAE has also set up a Facebook and Twitter page for active communication with members, and African immigrants facing challenges can contact them for help and guidance. At CFAE, a lot is in store for the African immigrants, and support from individuals and organizations will go a long way in helping us achieve our mission of empowering and advancing the lives of African immigrants in the USA.

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