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About Somali Women and Children's Association (SWCA)

Somali Women and Children's Association, SWCA Somali Women and Children's Association (SWCA) 1 - Background: SWCA is a grassroots, community-run organization founded in 1993 to serve the health, socio-economic and cultural needs of refugees and new immigrants from the horn area of East Africa. The civil strife in Somalia and Sudan, added to the 5-8 years most refugees spend shifting between refugee camps in Kenya and other neighboring countries before arriving in the US, destroyed most of the existing family and social support systems in these communities. SWCA was started when a Somali woman in Boston perceived the difficulty that women were having adjusting to life in the USA due to these issues. The organization continues to be run with and by women from the Somali community. Most of the volunteers used in planning events, outreach and education are women drawn from the community who are best prepared to provide the requisite cultural and gender specific services needed. The association fosters the success of Somali and other immigrants and refugees in the greater Boston area by providing comprehensive guidance and a range of comprehensive professional services, including English and literacy classes, cultural assimilation, job counseling, social services and resettlement. SWCA also provides interpreter services that enable community members to access mainstream health, social and educational and other services in the greater Boston area. SWCA has recently begun to provide primary resettlement services to refugees upon arrival in Boston, through a VOLAG (voluntary agency) contract with the federal Office for Refugee Resettlement. Of the 5000 Somalis resettled in Massachusetts since 1992, 1,200 arrived as refugees. 2 - Mission/Goals: Help refugee and immigrant families build safe and successful lives in the United States. 3 - Services: - Social services (counseling, community education, support groups, consultation and referral for other social and legal service providers, assistance for victims of culture shock and crime, translation/interpreter services). - Education (ESL, adult literacy, computer training, sewing). - Health services (pre- and post-natal women and children, nutrition, domestic violence prevention, substance abuse counseling and education, youth crime prevention, STDs/HIV/AIDS education). - Employment and training (job skills training, work orientation, employer outreach and job placement). - Cultural integration (organize Somali youth soccer tournament, sponsor traditional Somali community festivities, promote cultural assimilation). - Refugee resettlement (airport pick-up, housing, orientation, translation, school enrollment, health screening, advocacy and referral)
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