Monday, May 2, 2011

Faribault Somali Community Services

Today I attended a meeting in Faribault that brought together members of the Somali community, the City Administrator, and the Chief of Police. The meeting was organized and hosted by the Somali Community Services Center, a relatively new organization. It was an opportunity for city authorities to hear about the challenges facing the Somali community.

The Somali men and women talked about the challenges they face, including how to deal with social services providers, law enforcement, and landlords. They mentioned the need for translators, to facilitate communication. They stressed, however, that they do not want to be dependent on social services. They just want initial assistance in this new environment. After that, as hard working people who have known life in refugee camps, they will achieve success on their own.

This was a worthwhile meeting, and I hope there will be a tradition of such meetings in the future, not only with the police and city admistration but also the health services, school system, businesses, and so on.

I cherish any opportunity to participate in such gatherings and have been to Faribault a number of times, as I have written on this blog and on my Swahili blog.

For more information about the Faribault Somali Community Services Center, call (507)332-0707 or (507)210 7128; email

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