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Shaax iyo Sheeko (Tea and Talk)

As part of its core mission BRAVE has create tea and talk community circles with young women to empower them, allow them to discuss issues.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Shaax iyo Sheeko (Tea and Talk) is a community gathering place where young women come together to encourage each other, and address issues and obstacles in their community and life. Currently BRAVE has partnered with Wellstone International High school to hold a circle once a week after school. In the circle, the young women are invited to talk about obstacles they face and advise each other on how to overcome them. They talk about their lives and struggles, talk through their own sacrifices as well as their parents, and discuss the importance of education and leadership. The circle talks about to how build healthy relationships, lasting bonds, and creating an environment of sisterhood and support. Due to the success of this program, BRAVE hopes to create other circles free and open to young women. This includes potentially expanding to other high schools, colleges and local neighborhoods. Similar to the current program, the new circles will allow young women to give each other advice, share stories, empower each other, and build healthy relationships. Also, the circles will delve into difficult topics including mental health, physical wellbeing, sex and drug abuse. As well as healthy relationships with family, friends and significant others and discuss obstacles and trials in day-to-day life. Because BRAVE’s core mission is to cultivate strong-minded independent women who believe they are Brilliant Resilient Ambitious Vibrant and Elite, the circle will be a place where they can find that in themselves. The majority of these young women may lack the proper support to do so from their immediate family members and in many cases they are navigating through everyday struggles on their own. Some face the dilemma of attempting to merge the American and Somali cultures together into their unique lives. Frequently, these young women are unable to go to family members about problems they face and thus keeping these issues hidden and unsolved.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The primary beneficiaries of Shaah iyo Sheeko are 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation East African girls. These young women face prejudices due to gender, race, socioeconomic status, place, ability and sexual orientation. BRAVE is aware that in today’s political climate that being a young immigrant woman, many of whom dress in the islamic attire is difficult. BRAVE wants to support and give young women the confidence to be able to wear any hat they want, be anyone they want, identify in any way they want, and subscribe to and feel belonging and safe in any setting they walk into it. BRAVE work with young women from ages 8 to mid 30’s.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This idea is unique because of the perspective upon which BRAVE approaches it. BRAVE is made up of women who grew up in the United States, and faced the same bi-cultural struggles of these young women. BRAVE builds on that experience, and the sisterhood of the BRAVE volunteers and members to assist the circle participants. The BRAVE organizers are not afraid to help the participants talk about issues that they themselves found difficult in their time. The program is designed to create a holistic approach to empowering young women. The program allows them to navigate the issues organically and comfortably. The program is also unique because it tackle topics that are seen as taboo or rarely ever discussed.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

BRAVE Foundation Inc. is an organization for women by women created to uplift, encourage and empower young East African women, and assist in them in prospering the areas of education, health, wellness, leadership and employment.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

What inspired the Founder of BRAVE Foundation Inc to start the organization and these projects is the number of girls/women opening up and sharing their stories. A young woman stands out who stated she befriended girls older than her and got hooked on drugs because of her friends and in a sense felt forced to join so she has a place to belong. She also shared that her family doesn't know and feels as she lives a double. On numerous occasions, abortions and mother/daughter relationships came up.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

BRAVE understands that for many young woman the biggest obstacle to their success is not feeling supported or not having someone in their life that they can talk freely with and ask questions in their development. Shaah iyo Sheeko hopes to fill this gap, so the participants to focus on their education; their health and wellness; employment; or taking that step and becoming a leader. Support will come from each other and the group. No one will feel as if they are alone, no one will feel as if there is something they can’t deal with. The circle is confidential; the circle is free. And our hope is that in allowing them to free themselves of some of societies burdens in the circle they can leave it and prosper.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

BRAVE’s leadership and volunteers will work in making sure the project works. In addition, B.R.A.V.E has collaborates with Minneapolis Community Education at Wellstone International High School in getting together the first group of young women to participate in Shaax iyo Sheeko. But we hope to initiate more discussion groups open to all young women in the community, partner with other local organizations and schools to bring this idea to more young women. In the future, we hope to expanding to other high schools, universities, and local neighborhoods community centers so a Shaax iyo Sheeko circle will be available to young women in every neighborhood and setting. That way the discussions will be more in line with the issues affecting that group. Another organization partnership is with Our Streets Mpls and Minneapolis Health Department to make sure during our talks we promote health and wellness and encourage physical activities such as biking.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Five strengths are: (1) strength in the community, the program will be a place for resource, strength and resilience ; (2) sense of community; knowing that others are also going through the same issues that the members are; (3) women in leadership, Somali women are known to be leaders in business, politics, education, and in the home, this project will highlight those leadership qualities; (4) continuing the oral tradition; and (5) celebrating culture in dance, food, and poetry.

Geographic Focus

Geographically our focus is in the metro area of Minnesota where majority of the women we serve live

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We want this work and project to be a long term work with the East African communities. BRAVE would definitely implement Shaax iyo Sheeko within 36 months. We already started the work and would love to expand it, and stabilize it so more people can benefit from it.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Instruments Delhi

Your choice of topics is truly amazing. I love your article and hence I’m subscribing your updates.

Photo of Rahul Singh

Such a very helpful blog for me I ever seen this block could never think of such a thing is possible with it thank u for this blog keep sharing it.

Photo of Rahul  Sharma

Great Information sharing I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us go through info. I appreciate this post.

Photo of Erickson Ferry

I appreciate earning new things and investigating new projects.The project objectives are direct and we will assess the accomplishment against the here and now and long haul objectives as expressed previously. Thank you for sharing.
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Photo of Anubha Sharma

Hi very interesting project, I was wondering if there was any plans to introduce relevant topics to steer discussions on meaningful lines or to involve informed group leaders so the discussions could be moderated. These circles could be a fantastic opportunity for learning and sharing.

Photo of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)

Hi Lul,
This sounds like a great idea that has a lot of potential to expand! Who are the facilitators of these Tea and Talk groups? Are they trained professionals, and do they provide any support to the girls and women beyond the talk groups? It might be interesting to explore how far the impact of these support groups goes and if the program could potentially link beneficiaries to further services like sexual health or mental health services.
Best of luck with your project!

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal

Hi Lul , Congratulations on getting shortlisted for the refinement phase. I'm really happy to see how you perceive the importance of conversation within the community in between people. However, I'm not very clear about how you are going to make the people open up? As you mentioned, these people do not like to open up, specially to strangers. They would rather keep everything to themselves even if an organization is there that they can talk to and get help from.
I see that you have conducted a pilot test as well. I'm curious to know how you went with it and what the learning outcomes are. I think you better start answering the new questions in the refinement phase and update your submission accordingly :)

If you want to get the users that you are designing for involved with your design from the beginning, "Context Mapping" is a technique that you can try out:

Photo of Zaila null

Hello Lul!

Your programs sounds great. Have you incorporated your "Shaax and Sheeko' circles with any books? We run a youth center in Kismayo and from early on we introduced books to our storytelling circles. It was really popular and it made many young brave to stand in front of crowds to tell stories or recite poems. Hope the young women contribute to from oral society culture to academic society culture.

I can suggest you some Af Somali books to get. Books inspire more instant ideas and have tendency to leave indelible marks on young minds. Books, whether simple storybooks, poetry or history can have a long lasting and positive memories. And with books, those young women who develop deeper thoughts on any of the topics mentioned in any of the "sheeko" circles will have an opportunity to be alone with the book to get deeper into the topics that interest them.

Good luck and share some photos/links.