Many people all over the world dream of coming to America the land of freedom and opportunity. However few of these people are in the least prepared for the rigors of life they encounter on landing in the United States. Immigrants from Africa quickly realize that the social structures like communal associations that help support the day to day life where they come from are non-existent. Those who are lucky to have family to welcome them are hit with the realization that their relatives are caught in the day to day battle of chasing the dollar to survive and support themselves to have any time to take them by the hand in this new found land. The culture shock is confounding, the challenges enormous and many are left confused, frustrated and in a state of despair.
The American Dream Program
Vitendo4Africa has set up a program that tries to make senses of all this madness. Our aim is to bridge the huge expectation gap that the new immigrants come face to face with. The American Dream Program sets out a systematic way that a new immigrant can be put on a path that will take them step by step through all the preliminary things they need to do to even begin making sense of this foreign land.
We have prepared a check list that is sent to people getting ready to come to America from Africa, or have recently arrived, that can help them put together documents that they will need to have a smooth transition when they arrive. Some of the key documents are school records, immunization records, updated international driving records, work history and recommendations and so on.
On arrival we aid in getting the immigrants host families or temporary accommodation in case they do not have family or friends. We supply the host or the new families with house hold supplies and consumables and subsidize utilities to assist them support the new families.
We provide, with the aid of volunteers, local transport to the church, Social Security Office, schools or other government agencies that they will need to be registered or enrolled with on arrival. Basic language and computer skills are provided together with job search and taking them to interviews. Once the immigrants or their children are enrolled in school we also support transport to and from school and also to their work stations.
Driving instructions are also offered to the new immigrants to familiarize them with the local roads and enable them facilitate their own mobility once they have successfully passed their driving test and been licensed to operate a motor vehicle.
The program has strong links to personal financial training aspect so as to familiarize the new immigrant with the credit system in the United States. We prepare the new people to be ready to fit into the financial system once they start working so that they are not tangled up the wrong part of the credit system for lack of knowledge.
Since the new immigrants do not have credit when they come we facilitate starter loans to buy house hold items and beginner cars once they have secured employment. We have as a result of our experience in this area developed a micro lending department that provides more comprehensive financial services (Vitendo Sacco).
Through Vitendo4Africa and partner organization we also work with property managers to guarantee these individuals when looking for apartments since they do not “pass” the required background check and credit history check. We have developed this program further with the support of partners to owning property that will provide affordable housing to the immigrant and low income community. Through this program we will also tailor home ownership schemes that our clients can participate in and they can end up being home owners and not just renters.
The Vitendo4Africa American Dream Program thus seeks to provide a comprehensive vehicle that would enable a new immigrant truly realize their American Dream. As the Chinese saying goes a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step our ultimate goal is to keep improving this program so that the new immigrants face the least bumps on the road as they assimilate in this new found land and enable them enjoy true freedom that they have yearned for all their life!