The Milwaukee African Women’s Association was established in 2008 by African immigrant and refugee women living in Milwaukee; from Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, USA, Somalia, Congo, Benin, and the Central African Republic. Our membership continues to increase and reflects the presence of over ten thousand African refugees and immigrants in the Milwaukee area (2009 Federal Immigration Statistics). We have a membership of women from diverse backgrounds, involved in a vast continuum of professional and personal endeavors.
Our objectives to date have been to create an awareness of the attributes we bring to the Milwaukee community as women of African descent; to create and promote understanding among different cultures and societies within societies; to assist the integration of African immigrant/refugee women and their families as they transition in a new environment. In addition, helping them access resources to maintain healthy families and actively participate in building a strong community.
These objectives have been realized so far through cultural exchanges, community, social and political outreach, cultural exhibitions, seminars, and discussions. This year we initiated a tradition practiced by African women and women in the world community: International Women’s Day. A celebration of women worldwide brings attention to the plight of women struggling for equity, quality of life, and safety.
MILAWA’s programmatic focus has been culture, leadership, community, and economic development. Our newest endeavor will be healthcare. Our community is in an emergency ward. Women of African descent are the primary caretakers of our families in the area of health, so it is only a natural progression that we become proactive in facilitating illness prevention in our homes and prevention education in our communities. The Milwaukee African Women’s Association is excited about being an emerging vital organization in the Milwaukee community. We look forward to the opportunity to support the advancement of African women and their communities.