Friday, February 07, 2014

Emerging communities: Somali families learn to assimilate

The large community of Somali refugees in Minnesota are assimilating but also need extra help because of the horrible lives they escaped from.   - - Donna Poisl

Sean Dobbin, Staff writer

For refugees, the basic survival needs come first: food, clothing, shelter. Then there are the services that help them to start their assimilation into a new culture: English lessons, education, job training.

But for certain groups, there are other issues that might not immediately come to mind, like the mental and emotional scarring that comes from living in a nation that has been at war with itself for 23 years.

"All these families are coming, and their mental health is really difficult," said Sharon Silvio, director of the English language classes for the Somali Community of Western New York. "They've seen so many killings, so many terrible things that have happened. Even the children have."
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