Wanjiru Kamau


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2007 Purpose Prize Fellow

Facilitating the transition of African immigrants and refugees into American society.

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My Work History

Newly arrived African immigrants to the United States face a host of hurdles. Principal among them: language difficulties and limited support systems. Kenyan-born educator Wanjiru Kamau understood and took action. After retiring from teaching at several colleges in the United States, Dr. Kamau used $10,000 in savings to establish the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation. As the organization's Executive Director, she leads AIRF to facilitate the effective transition of the African immigrants to the American society and support their productive sustainable integration into their new homeland. Serving Maryland and the District of Columbia, AIRF has provided a variety of services to over 15,000 youth, their families, and professionals since inception. Kamau's research and publications on mental health, African women's health issues, conflict resolution and African cultural help service providers and educators increase their understanding of the African immigrant community. Her recent contributions include two videos, one on Adolescent Rites of passage and a "Child of Two Worlds", a tool for African Cultural Competency Training.

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