On a recent trip to Jamaica, I finally had a chance to visit the Jamaican headquarters of FURI, the Family Unification and Resettlement Initiative housed off Hagley Park Road in Kingston. For those of you reading this report who don’t know what FURI does – they are a non-profit organization formed to assist those deportees who are returned to Jamaica (the majority of them) with no ties, no family support or even an idea of the country that many left behind as children. The task is not an easy one, as deportees, or returnees as I like to call them, first have to accept their situation and in accepting only then are they able to re-integrate and re-settle and hopefully become productive members of Jamaican society. They face a double whammy though, shunned by the countries that throw them away like garbage, sometimes for minor infractions, they are also shunned in their host country as rejects and criminals. While there are criminals amongst them, for the most, they have overstayed visas and are mainly undocumented immigrants caught up in the Obama dragnet of enforced repatriation.
Conduit listeners will remember that my involvement with this organization began in the middle of last year when FURI founder – Carmeta Albarus-Lindo was a guest on the show. Her passion, eloquence and no-nonsense approach to a major problem had me hooked and led to my friends and me organizing a computer drive where we were able to obtain 8 desktops which were eventually sent to Jamaica for the budding computer lab. Well I am extremely happy to report that the computers have been installed and are almost ready to be pressed into duty for the computer lab and internet café.
I met and talked with Marlene - FURI’s operational manager, who gave a comprehensive run-down of the operations that are already up and running together with her vision for FURI’s Jamaican operations.
FURI is mostly self-funded, even more reason why I lend my 100% support to this group. I see the work that they are doing and it is unquestionably above reproach and very needed. FURI not only impacts the lives of Jamaicans who need a second chance, but they also interact with the indigenous community and is slowly earning the respect and trust of its neighbors and surrounding community.
FURI’s website http://familyunification.net/ contains more in-depth information and contact details.