Who we are
AFCS is a registered Charity run by an elected Management Committee. Its present Chairman is Fawzia Samad. We are England's leading confidential counselling service for individuals, couples and families of Asian communities.
The Director of AFCS is Kulbir Randhawa who is responsible for the overall running of the service.
AFCS employs trained counsellors who receive regular supervision.
All counsellors are fully trained and supervised. Counsellors are recruited from the main Asian communities, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and provide counselling with a full understanding of the different cultural customs and religions.
We have a mission to create wider awareness of the problems faced by Asian individuals and educate statutory agencies about the special characteristics of Asian marriage and family life. This reduces misunderstandings, thus enabling the agencies to carry out their work with more confidence and sensitivity. To help with greater understanding of the Asians settled in Britain, special courses are run by AFCS.
The need for a counselling service specifically for Asians
Rani Atma, the founder of the Asian Family Counselling Service, addressed this issue in 1983. Until then, there was a perception that families from South Asian backgrounds had few problems and that when one occurred, the extended family stepped in to help so that there was never a need for external assistance. Because of this stereotyping, no services were being offered for the South Asians settled in Britain. In fact, South Asian families need more services which specialise in providing immediate and acute help where and when necessary.
Experience has shown that South Asian people are often uncomfortable using mainstream counselling services. The reasons for this discomfort include:
- Language differences - counselling services rarely provide interpretation facilities.
- Family Honour – ‘izzat' is likely to be tarnished so a family experiencing marital problems, domestic violence or child abuse will rarely go outside the extended family for help.
- Fear of being misunderstood - because South Asian family customs are different from those of the West. The rules of engagement, marriage, and child-care are so complex, that for a white practitioner it can be almost impossible to recognise the underlying meaning of a particular attitude or action.
AFCS, in providing a culturally sensitive counselling service, helps to address these issues and has been doing so successfully since 1985.