The purpose of the award â€œStars Among Usâ€ is to acknowledge the assistance that refugees, immigrants, and their children have rendered to the community, and to afford them an opportunity to express their gratitude to America. This award is given by the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services (the Alliance), which got incorporated as a Texas non-profit corporation in 1986 and is one of the top 25 non-profits of the city of Houston.
Representatives of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Ethiopian communities in Houston created the Alliance to serve as a mutual assistance association. Since 1986, the Alliance has grown to serve individuals of all ethnicities and has assisted 85,000 individuals. Recently the Alliance served more than 7,000 Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees between September and December 2005 and continues to provide services to hurricane survivors through a number of assistance programs.
Foremost among the Alliance volunteers has been Abdullah Jafari, an established American of Pakistani origin. At Allianceâ€™s Annual Celebration Dinner at Westin Galleria Tower, Abdullah Jafari was bestowed the â€œStar Among Usâ€ together with the Washington Mutual Bank, who has given funds over the past five years for Allianceâ€™s Financial Education, Homebuyers Education, Volunteerism and Business Development Program. This Annual Program was emceed by Doug Miller of TV Channel 11 KHOU.
Abdullah Jafariâ€™s primary volunteering services were rendered during Katrina disaster in Louisiana, after which thousands of them poured into Houston. Jafari was the main coordinator of the Muslim and Pakistani physicians Doctors, as they provided excellent medical care to our own American refugee guests from New Orleans. His efforts were recognized by Mayor Bill White. Mayor also called upon Jafari to coordinate a relief mission to Pakistan, which was devastated by earthquake. He has also lead missions under Developments in Literacy (DIL), which funds 150 rural schools in Pakistan; Pennies for Education and Health, which provides health care and scholarships in India; and has worked hard in USA to assist the Sind Institute of Urology and Transplantation in Karachi Pakistan, which treats over 400,000 persons suffering from kidney-related diseases each year free of charge. Indeed Abdullah Jafari deserves to be â€œA Star Among Usâ€.
Abdullah Jafari was introduced in encouraging words by Honorary Chair Zafar Tahir, said he is from a country Pakistan, who fought the America war against USSR in Afghanistan and now is fighting the American War on Terror. In the meantime, he is fighting the war on poverty, healthcare and education for all human beings. He said volunteerism is extremely important to build any healthy society and gave the example of about 80,000 Bosnians in St. Louis, who have changed the entire city towards positively with hard volunteer work.
Earlier Chair of Board of Directors Ms. Sue Davis, Executive Director Kassahun Bisrat and others informed via PowerPoint presentation that since 1986, the Alliance has grown to serve individuals of all nationalities and immigration status. Mission is to provide comprehensive services to refugees, immigrants and low-income residents of Harris County in order to enhance their cultural adjustment and self-sufficiency. These services are delivered with linguistic and cultural competence and are designed to empower individuals, families and communities to succeed. The primary focus of scope of their services is:
-Refugee resettlement and transitional assistance. -Individual, family and community economic development services through self-sufficiency and training programs. -Youth and family services through family wellness and youth empowerment activities.
-Health education and access to affordable health care.
-Community empowerment through trainings, cultural promotion and community organizing.
-International programs to alleviate causes of population displacement; specifically economic development, health education, justice and democracy.
For more information, once can visit the Alliance at 6440 Hillcroft, Suite 411, Houston, Texas 77081 or call 713-776-4700.