Workshop for African Community leaders in the bay area

One of Aaron K Foundation goals is to Assist parents of African Immigrants of Children with special needs, who struggle with cultural and language barriers (In the bay area ) to find resources that are available around them in order to to ensure a life without limits.

On September 14th 2019, in Partnership with Parents Helping parents ( PHP) a non profit organization based in San Jose, California, we hosted a workshop for African immigrant community leaders.

The objective of the workshop was to empower community leaders of African community in bay area by giving them the resources that are available for parents of Children with special needs so they may in return empower and guide their community members on this subject and be a support to the parents and caregivers that need the services and their children. Marlee Benefiel, PHP and Senait Abraha from Aaron K Foundation gave presentation.

Ms. Marlee, in her presentation talked about PHP’s vision and mission and the services that are provided for clients.

Further more, she talked about services that are available for special needs children and their parents, in Santa Clara county. She talked on topics like Social security services, social services, Special education and may more.

She ended her presentation by encouraging participants to reach out to PHP if they have more questions or need more assistant in the areas she discussed.

Parents Helping Parents is a very good resource for parents of special needs. Its mission is to support, educate, and inspire families and the community to build bright futures for youth and adults with special needs.

All employees of PHzp are parents or caregivers of special needs children themselves hence, they don’t only give information and resource, but they are a good source of support because they have gone through the hardship and process of raising their own special needs children and adults.

For More information on PHP got to their website and you can read more about them https://www.php.com/

On behalf of Aaron K foundation ( AKF), Senait Abraha ( Founder and CEO of AKF) talked about the mission and vision of AKF, its history and how it was founded, her own journey with her son Aaron and her commitment to transform the African community where talking about special needs is still considered a taboo, and is very difficult topic to navigate let alone support parents and children dealing with disability.

She also talked about the challenges of getting the support one needs from the African community since there isn’t much information and the community isn’t empowered enough to look for resources outside of the community.

Senait also talked about her experience with PHP, as a client when she first arrived in US with her son Aaron, who has special needs. The support she received from them the empowerment she got from the various education and training she got from them.

She finally encouraged participants to reach out with any question they may have letter or refer any one who needs help to PHP or AKF.

For more information on AKF go to www.aaronkfoundation.org

Participants expressed their gratitude for this unique workshop and showed their enthusiasm by asking questions and participating in discussions.

One of the participants, shared her experience with having a mental illness, how the community makes her feel whenever she meets some one in the community or going to church with her mom. She explained how the lack of awareness in this area in our community puts a lot of pressure on her and pushes her to isolate her self and that sometimes those that think they know about mental health treat her like a kid.

We discussed the lack of awareness in our community when it comes to disability or mental health and that we should work together to empower our community by story telling and bringing empowering and educational workshops.

The Participants then requested that we have more workshops like this in the community.

As a result of an invitation, from one of the participants in the workshop, Senait from AKF Went to the Eritrean community center in San Jose on January 22nd, 2020 introduced Aaron K foundation. The community Center expressed their support to this noble cause and announced to its members that they will invite Aaron K foundation and PHP for the presentation that we did in September.

The current corona virus issue has put everything on halt and we are not sure when we will be able to conduct the presentation at the Eritrean community yet, however we will have the workshop as soon us the situation subsides.


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