The East African Health Project (EAHP) is a non profit organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the East African community in the United States. EAHP provides integral awareness and outreach services on health education, health promotion, disease prevention and human services to newly-arrived communities from the East African Region.
Members of communities that are new to the United States and are from the East African Region (such as Somalia) face many challenges while adjusting to their new home. Most members of these communities are considered low-income and their cultures are very different from that of mainstream United States. These factors create a need for extensive social service assistance for basic needs. The challenges these community members face include employment, housing, transportation, social services, and, most importantly, health care services. The EAHP assists these communities with their healthcare needs by reaching out to them and raising their awareness of available healthcare systems, the prevention of communicable diseases, and other important information on community health concerns. The EAHP also works to provide other services such as youth education, employment, and housing, in order to make the transition to the United States a smooth one.
The EAHP staff will be composed of healthcare professionals and experienced workers that have backgrounds in social services. The EAHP staff members must be knowledgeable in both healthcare and the East African cultures. In order to effectively communicate, staff members East African Health Project (EAHP) must be able to speak languages from the East African region, namely Somali, Swahili, Amharic and Oromo.
SPECIFICALLY, THE EAHP WILL STRIVE TO:
- Raise community awareness about disease prevention
- Advocate and assist families with resettlement and reunification, employment and housing.
- Assist community members in finding healthcare insurance, both public and private.
- Promote and educate the community about healthy living.
- Provide human services to families, elderly, and youth.
- Educate youth about safety and crime prevention.
The EAHP plans to provide an array of outreach and referral services in order to bridge the gap between beneficiaries in need and service providers. EAHP has identified five critical areas that will help it better achieve its mission of helping members of newly arrived communities from the East African Region to better adjust to the United States. The five advocacy and awareness service areas the EAHP will concentrate on are:
HEALTH EXTENSION SERVICES:
The EAHP plans to provide health extension services by providing information through the television and radio media, as well as community presentations. The EAHP also plans to conduct health fairs in the neighborhoods where the community members live and work. The main objectives
health extension services focus aim to:
Educate the community about primary healthcare through TV and radio media, as well as community presentations.
Raise awareness in the community about the prevention of communicable diseases by focusing on major health concerns such as TB, AIDS/HIV and other STDs, Diabetes, Cancer and other critical diseases.
Promote utilization of available healthcare systems, both in the public sector (MEDICAID, MinnesotaCare and MEDICARE) and the private sector (private healthcare providers, insurers and other healthcare organizations), in order for the community to understand both how they work and what services are available.
Family, Children and Adult Support and Referral Services:
New immigrants face a number of challenges when they arrive. Changes in environment and culture place a large stress on the family unit and increase the need for social services. A number of services in the area are available to assist individuals and families in this process; however, often they remain underutilized because immigrants are unaware that such services exist. EAHP intends to help bridge this gap by serving as a vital link between the community and service providers. By determining community and individual concerns, EAHP will work to identify appropriate social service providers and connect them to the East African community.
Identify a variety of social service providers in the area serving families, children and adults.
Ensure service providers have the capacity and the cultural awareness to work with members of the East African community.
Raise community awareness of family violence and connect families to appropriate prevention and counseling services.
Identify minor parents in the community and provide them with life and parenting skills
Immigrant youth face unique challenges compared to others their age. Often they are struggling to balance two different cultures. EAHP feels it is important to work with you to determine those who are at-risk and to provide awareness and support for all youth in the community. EAHP’s youth services plan to:
- Connect youth to guidance and counseling as needed.
- Plan after-school programs for youth from low-income families that promote education and fun through activities, sports and art.
- Organize summer camp programs that offer learning and recreation for children from low-income families from communities that EAHP was designed to help.
- Rehabilitate at-risk youth, or youth who are involved in the legal system, by providing counseling and role-models in order to restore hope and a sense of self-worth.
REFUGEE ASSISTANCE SERVICES:
Refugee families and children form the Horn of African are in great need for both human and health services. Family resources are typically lost in the wars in their home countries. In addition to suffering from extreme poverty, refugees are disadvantaged in their lack of knowledge about housing, jobs or schools. The EAHP believes that reaching out to them and providing services will help them overcome many barriers and assimilate faster. EAHP intends to:
- Assist in refugee resettlement
- Aid in family reunification
- Support individuals with immigration and work papers
- Help adults enroll in ESL and children enroll in regular schooling
- Advise refugee families in finding employment and housing
EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING SERVICES:
Most families that come here are on Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and need to find employment before their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) month end. Too often many families are unable to do so in such a short time period. After their assistance period, families often find themselves without any resources or support in finding employment and housing. The EAHP with its culturally competent staff will be able to provide guidance and counseling in obtaining and retaining employment. EAHP will strive to:
- Provide an employment search service
- Offer seminars/workshops on employment retention skills
- Assist clients in arranging transportation to work
- Educate clients on housing options