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Michael commented on Building Resilience and Hope in the Somali Diaspora

I am Michael Van Keulen, and I am posting the following message on behalf of my partner in work, Imam Sharif Mohamed. Imam Sharif and I are cofounders of Open Path Resources (OPR). He has asked that I please submit the following post as he was unable to access the site...

"Thank you Mr. Lyngdoh for your important question regarding our proposal. I am a Somali imam in Minnesota, in fact the first Somali imam to open a Mosque in our state. I also am nationally certified in the Mind Body Medicine training we speak of in this proposal. Our work has been an important addition to the resources we are using to help our refugee community address trauma, strengthen relations between generations (helping parents engage children in a manner that is well received by the children), and even produce economic opportunities for trainers in both Minnesota and we hope, Kenya. Our pilot efforts over the last years have been a resounding success, immediate feedback from participants and follow up demonstrates that this effort is meeting our goals to sustainably provide resources to individuals and families to manage impact of trauma. We have had over 95% of participants that begin the training sustain and complete the courses. We have had participants ranging in age of 17 to 70+. We have witnessed participants training others, sustaining the practice more than a year after the initial training, and they report its value and close alignment to their faith and family values. We have strong confidence that our Somali brothers and sisters will benefit if they gain these skills while still in Garissa or in the process of transition to other locations. Mind Body Medicine skills allows participants to better relate to cultural and faith ideas they are likely to engage as they move to new locations. The benefit of this resource is that it allows our Muslim community to find common language, ideas, and values while feeling comfortable and confident in their own faith as they relate to others. I appreciate the other comments regarding others doing similar work or work targeting our community. We welcome all efforts and support our community. We strongly stand by this proposal and believe that it not only sustains current and important work, it develops new and important partnerships that will build our community's capacity in both East Africa and in the U.S."