About Us 

 AJAPO is a Refugee Resettlement Non-Profit Agency affiliated
to the Ethiopian Community
Development Council and funded through the Department of State under the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

As their first point of contact in the United States, refugees received through AJAPO to Pittsburgh, are provided with a myriad of services to ease their resettlement. These include housing, cultural orientation medical, transportation, employment, school enrolment, child care, government IDs and a continuum of social services coordination up to five years after their arrival in the United States.


The Mission of AJAPO is to provide a continuum of care which empowers refugees and immigrants residing in the Greater Pittsburgh Communities and Allegheny County to become self-sufficient and better integrated into our communities.

Since inception in 2001, AJAPO has successfully implemented Service Coordination programs for refugees/immigrants through provision of trainings for acculturation, life skills, leadership/conflict resolution skills, counseling, support and referrals for access to education, housing, medical, welfare benefits, and legal services. In addition, AJAPO provides interpretation and cultural competency services to improve relationships between clients and other service providers. Annually, AJAPO serves up to 300 people.


AJAPO's vision is to build--together with consumers--an amazing and self-sufficient community that contributes economically, socially, and spiritually to the civic life of greater Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, while sustaining those aspects of their own traditional values and culture that strengthen families.  


AJAPO's programs, services, and day-to-day work in the community are guided by the following values:


April 2001: Young Sudanese men started arriving in the Pittsburgh and South Western Pennsylvania area.

The Pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Roman Catholic parish, Reverend Fr. Carmen D’Amico, appealed to the congregation to welcome “the strangers among us."  The community was open to welcoming our brothers from Southern Sudan, who were being resettled through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

St. Benedict the Moor formed a coalition of welcoming parishioners with other Catholic parishes from the South Hills of Pittsburgh and St. Charles Lwanga Parish in Homewood, and with leaders of other denominations.  Six committees were formed to support the young men, many of whom had been separated from their parents since they were five or six years old.  They had wandered in danger around several parts of Africa before being resettled in the United States of America. The national voluntary organization that received this group of refugees (and other Africans who later arrived in the Pittsburgh area) is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; the local organization is Catholic Charities.

Eighty volunteers from these parishes came together and formed committees for the Sudanese young men’s resettlement--committees for Health, Education, Social, Employment/Jobs, House Parents, and Volunteers. St. Benedict the Moor became the lead parish because it is one of two predominantly African-American Catholic Parishes in Allegheny County and the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

February 2004: AJAPO is incorporated in Pennsylvania

April 2006: AJAPO is approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

While trying to assist refugees, the committees decided there was a need for a formal organization. The number of new arrivals were increasing thereby creating a need for staff that could be dedicated full-time to the growing and unique needs of the African and Afro-Caribbean refugees and immigrants. Initial requests for assistance were focused on requests for information, school tuition, immigration, employment, and family benefits.

It became clear that a comprehensive approach was needed so that all aspects of integration: social, economic, physical, health/medical, emotional, educational, and civic could be properly coordinated to meet the needs of the populations and systemic change through advocacy could be achieved where necessary.

AJAPO also receives and assists African and Caribbean immigrants other than refugees.

 Population Served

AJAPO serves refugees from the following nations: Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi,  Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad, Uganda, Zambia,  and Zimbabwe.

Donors and Sponsors

AJAPO is funded by the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and  Migration through the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the PA State Office of Refugee Services, Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Program to Aid Citizens' Enterprise (PACE),  McAuley Ministries of the Sisters of Mercy, City of Pittsburgh, The Adele N. & Thomas F. Keaney Foundation, the POISE Foundation, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and numerous other friends and individuals who are our benefactors