Who are we?
AFCS is a registered Charity run by an
elected Management Committee. Its present Chairman is Rani Atma.
are London'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
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
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
Is there a 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 Asian families had few
problems and that when they occured, 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 Asians settled in Britain. In fact,
Asian families need more services which specialise in
providing immediate and acute help where and when necessary.
Experience has shown that Asian
people are often uncomfortable using mainstream counselling
services. The reasons for this discomfort include:
- Language differences -
counselling services rarely provide interpretation
- Family Honour –
‘izzat' is likely to be tarnished so an Asian family
experiencing marital problems, domestic violence or child
abuse will rarely go outside the family for help.
- Fear of being misunderstood
- because 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.
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