The Somali Bantu Community Association has received a $450,000 Federal grant to support self-sufficiency and provide employment services to the Somali Bantus, as well as other refugees in the Syracuse area. Self-sufficiency is a top priority for the association, which works to assist the refugees along their path toward becoming United States citizens.
Haji Adan, Executive Director of the association, says the group’s mission is to facilitate a successful transition to American life.
“When we meet with them, we ask them how many people live in the family, their income compared to expenses. And then design a self-sufficient plan to figure out what kind of job they have to get immediately,” Adan said Thursday.
Although the Association was primarily founded by Somali Bantu people, Adan says they serve more people than the Somali population alone.
“Our mission now changed, to expanding our services to all refugee communities. Some of them are from Iraq, some of them are from Nepal, some of them are from Somalia… it’s a mix of refugees. So this center belongs to the community,” Adan said.
Sangabo Abdi, President of the association, has had firsthand experience with the educational assistance that organizations like the SBCA provide.
Both Abdi and Adan were able to escape the Civil War in Somalia with assistance from the United States.
The Somali Bantu Community Association was founded in 2004; and Adan considers the Association’s mission one of tolerance. The group strives to educate not only the refugees, but also American people who may be unfamiliar with the Somali Bantu or other cultures.