Monsoon’s OVW Underserved Community Partner: NAFFAA and the Filipino American Community in Iowa

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NAFFAA) has promoted Filipino-American solidarity for the past 20 years. Their current initiatives include leadership development, such as working with youth, conferences, and ambassador programs; civic engagement and voter registration; and national advocacy, particularly regarding immigration reform and supporting DACA.

The organization’s history in Iowa began in the 1970s with the first major wave of Filipino immigration to Iowa. A social/support group for Filipinos developed soon after. Since the early 2000s, the organization has also been a part of the Iowa Asian Association to facilitate the exchange of ideas with other Asian communities in Iowa. Currently, there is another influx of Filipino immigrants–mainly young women from rural areas in the Philippines who’ve met older American husbands through the internet. In spite of the challenges of adapting to a new environment, members of the Filipino community are adaptable, patient, and resilient, and the community has strong ties as a whole. Moreover, English is often already known by Filipino immigrants, making the transition smoother.

NAFFAA has had ties to Monsoon since its founding in 2007 because of communities ties in Iowa’s Filipino community. Prior to being part of the current Underserved Project, they have helped with Monsoon events and at the annual Asian festival “Celebrasian,” on top of serving as community advocates for the Filipino-American community. Under the OVW Underserved funding, NAFFAA’s partnership with Monsoon focuses on domestic violence against Filipino-Americans, particularly among the recent Filipino immigrants. The activities under the funding include informing the community of these services and other outreach, including outreach in rural Iowa.