Dr.Mohamed Ali Abukar, President and CEO, Somali American United Council of Arizona
There ar an estimated of 11,000 Somalis living in Arizona, of which the majority are female and live in Maricopa County. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, presenting symptoms that often result in their feeling passive "shut down,"overly aggressive or unable to concentrate. The current economic recession disproportionately affects these women, many facing cultural barriers that impede their seeking appropriate medical care and assistance and stymying their integration progress. The Somali American United Council of Arizona fills a critical need by helping newly arrived families adjust to their new lives, location, language and culture.
The Council's approach to overcoming these barriers is through mentor/case management volunteers who provide emotional support and serve as cultural intermediaries and role models for cultural integration. This presentation highlights how an effective mentor/case management model is possible using volunteers and subject matter experts from the community. Program participant essays and surveys will be shared as well as future plans to establish and conduct a socialization program through the use of cultural gatherings and a "sisters support group."