Word from our President
I was in Los Angeles when I made the decision to seek asylum in the United States. I visited different agencies where I tried to seek assistance for shelter and food but all was in vain. They told me that they had no resources for a case like mine because I was not recognized as a refugee in the country. I moved around the city looking for a Congolese organization or group which could help me but I couldn't find one. At the International Refugee Committee (IRC) office in Los Angeles, they told me that there was no organized Congolese community organization. There were only Ugandan, Ethiopian, Somali and other organizations.
A few days later, I decided to move to San Diego where I didn't know anyone at first. I moved to different resettlement agencies but again I was told that there was no assistance for me at all. Instead they gave me phone numbers to call one agency after another and every number I called they gave additional numbers until I came back to the first agency!
I visited an organization called Horn of Africa where I met with the director to seek help. Here I tried to come up with a very nice story about Somalia since I had taught in Somali university from 2014-2015. At this moment, I thought they could help me when they heard that I knew Somalia and had worked there. Unfortunately, they told me that they only assist people from Somalia! I was very confused and didn't know anywhere else to find the help I needed. I asked the director of Horn of Africa to guide me to a Congolese organization but he said that there has never been a Congolese organization in San Diego, California.
Two years later, while volunteering with New Neighbor Relief – NNR, I started receiving calls to go and help Congolese who were involved in fights, alcohol abuse and other problems in their families. I was unable to rest because of many cases of Domestic Violence (DV) among Congolese refugee families. After some months, reports were spread throughout the city that Congolese refugees are involved in the highest incidents of DV cases in San Diego. As a Congolese, I felt very concerned and ashamed that this was the situation. I realized that in most cases, Congolese refugees break the laws unintentionally due to lack of education and a lack of knowledge about American laws. I decided to do something to help in fighting this problem.
The only way to help address these DV problems would be through an organized and supported Ethnic Community Based Organization (ECBO) led by Congolese refugees which can focus on support, education and guidance for these refugees to help them stay away from trouble in order for them to rebuild their lives.
Today, I call upon all resettlement agencies, the government institutions, organizations and individuals in San Diego, California and the United States in general to support the Congolese Family Support Organization – CFSO, which is now the only trusted, structured Congolese refugee-led organization that can help Congolese refugees fight DV and other forms of crime that they are reported to be involved in. By helping this group of refugees, members will know how to stay away from trouble in the country and work hard to rebuild their lives and contribute to the development of their families and the community they live in.
Finally, on behalf of the members of the Congolese Family Support Organization – CFSO and the Congolese resettled in the United States in general; I express my gratitude all those who consider to support this community initiative…