Needs, So Many Needs
The needs of immigrant families can be as many and as varied as their cultures and languages, but there are some needs that are shared by all.
Many immigrants come to this country basically with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They need clothes appropriate for the season, furniture, household items, etc. They need people to show them places to live and to teach them how to have utilities connected, about their housing rights, etc.
Many immigrants lack English-language skills, which limits their job opportunities and makes daily life very stressful. Even the most common or simple tasks can become daunting and even impossible to realize if you cannot understand, speak or read the language of the locals. Though many immigrants hold college and professional degrees back in their home countries, lack of English-language skills forces them to take minimum wage jobs which makes it very difficult for them to provide for their families needs here while supporting relatives back home. They need to acquire or improve their English-language skills.
All immigrants have left their closest relations –relatives and trusted friends– back in their home countries and are now feeling lonely, fearful and isolated, not knowing who to trust. They are starved for friendships but they feel intimidated by the locals and cling only to their own for support. Their situation makes them easy victims for unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of their isolation and lack of knowledge of the language, laws, and customs of the land to cheat from them any way they can their hard earned moneys. They need the friendship of honest Christian people who can give them a hand without asking for anything in return.
Immigrants with children many times do not know how the school system works, what needs to be done to register them in school, and what is expected of the children and their parents. Even after the children are successfully enrolled in school, immigrant parents need help to understand school notices, rules, and their responsibilities. Many immigrant parents cannot even help their children with the homework due to their lack of language skills or their own lack of formal education. They need caring individuals who take time to explain things to them and who can help their children with homework.
Recent immigrants live in ‘survival mode’ and incredible amounts of stress all the time. They need opportunities to relax, have fun every once in a while, and make new friends.
On top of that, cultural differences between groups can make for some funny situations but can also be extremely confusing, embarrassing and even offensive to the parties involved. They need caring and understanding people who will take the time to get to know them and their culture, and who will kindly teach them about the culture of their newly adopted home.