Shanbaro Community Association

The Shanbaro Community Association was created by and supports the 400+ Somali Bantu refugees living in Chelsea and surrounding cities to build a strong community and to resolve significant quality of life issues

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SCA began when Collaborative organizers were conducting interviews with Chelsea residents through a social capital initiative. The organizers came across members of the Somali Bantu community who said they did not have access to resources and yet their community was in need of many services. The Collaborative opened its doors to the Somali Bantu community and helped them fundraise to hire part-time staff to further their efforts. Soon thereafter SCA formalized. Now, SCA members are getting the services they need, are participating in Leadership Institutes, becoming citizens and partnering with Harvard School of Public Health on a research study. Much work remains to be done, but SCA has accomplished much in a few short years.

SCA has accomplished the following:

  • Assisted over 65% of Somali Bantu refugee families in the Greater Boston area to navigate school, government, health care systems and more
  • Held weekly citizenship classes and prepared more than 20 community members to pass the citizenship test.
  • Held trainings in Maay Maay on Safety with the Chelsea Police Dept., Fire Safety, and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities.
  • Launched a community garden with Green Space in Temple Emmanuel’s side yard.
  • Worked with Harvard University School of Public Health’s Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) to conduct a community based Somali Bantu research project.
  • Held workshops and trainings with the Boston Interpreters Collective to develop a pool of Somali Bantu volunteer community interpreters.