Financial Literacy Program

 

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The Greater Columbus area is ranked second in percent of new foreign-born residents who came to Columbus since 2000, compared to other major metropolitan areas. 56,085 legal permanent residents have settled here between 2006 and 2010.

 

 

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We house the second largest Somali community in the US, with more than 45,000 residents from Somalia. Research shows that immigrants are significantly less likely to have full access to financial systems. For example, only 52% of immigrant households have a checking account, and only 45% of them maintain a savings account. As former refugees, target groups of this proposal have experienced poverty, discrimination, war, and other forms of violence in their native countries. Often their money, property and livelihoods have been taken away from them. This trauma may make them particularly mistrustful of institutions of authority, including banks and large corporations.

 

 

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Traditional family structures suggest that financial decisions in refugee/immigrant families often rest with the older males, which also affects quality of such decisions. As family roles are changing with younger members more integrated into American society, high levels of conflict are injected into families. Thus, culturally-based family systems, and changing gender relationships play a major role in impeding the financial integration and advancement of immigrant families. Lack of knowledge and certain cultural norms associated with traditional family dynamics impede the decision-making processes necessary to manage complex choices and transactions inherent in the financial system, especially in the areas of family money management.

 

 

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Our approach will assist immigrant families to move into the financial mainstream through a culturally-appropriate, family-based financial literacy project. It will effectively remove barriers to banking, asset accumulation and consumer purchases that are facilitated by American financial systems.

 

 

 

Refugee quiz: A day in a life of a refugee. How well will you do? 

 

 

 

For information regarding Financial Literacy:

 

 

Columbus:

 

Denise Hilliard: dhilliard@ustogether.us

 

 

Cleveland:

 

Ronald Hendrick: rhedrick@ustogether.us

 

 

Toledo:

 

Corine Dehabey: cdehabey@ustogether.us