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Local Somali Bantu Learn to Bridge Gap Between Youth and Elders

​Mentoring can come in many forms and in some cases can be a 'must have' versus 'a nice to have.' Looking for opportunities to partner and fill a need as well as create an exchange is a win-win all around.

Photo of Gretchen Addi
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Somali languages, such as Maay-Maay, are mainly spoken rather than written, and schooling is scarce, so many Somali Bantu refugees to the USA don’t know how to read or write in their own language, making it difficult to learn others. Without language skills, the cultural gap is more difficult to bridge, as is getting a job.

Community youth help translate for their parents and community elders. To help, the Somali Bantu Association holds classes most week nights where the youth are taught Somali culture and language and they in turn teach the elders English. 

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Photo of Meena

Great example of meeting pressing needs, Gretchen. Also makes me wonder about the opportunities for programs like this: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-mentor/research/elderly-americans-teach-english-to-brazilian-youth-via-internet for helping recent migrants who are trying to up their English-speaking skills.

Photo of Gretchen

Agree, language opportunities are an obvious win-win. Makes me wonder what else could fall into the category of pressing needs? Also nice to think remote versus in person delivery.

Photo of Meena

In sync – I was thinking about both these aspects too :^) Hoping others in our community chime in on the rich conversation you've started here...

Photo of Al

I would love to hear from Nancy and her team at Temple University on this issue. They have been working on intergenerational issues for years and specifically with immigrant populations.

Photo of Meena

Perhaps you might reach out to her and ask her to join this conversation? Or interview her using our toolkit? http://ideo.pn/ym-ask-1 :^)

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