Somali Advice and Forum of Information (SAAFI) is a community based organisation initiated and led by Somali-British mothers from refugee background in Brent to help each other and their families and to support others in need.
Most of the mothers are the sole heads of their families and realised that some of the young mothers who came to the UK as refugees in the late eighties’ and early nineties are now grandmothers, which put them traditionally into another category of the Somali society.
Since 2004 these mothers have been meeting at least once a week to share their problems in housing, income support, health and most of all education and the challenges facing them in their new country which mostly related to the problems and different ways their children responded to integration.
Although, the number of women that attended these informal meetings varied from 5 to 15, there is a core group of 5 women who effectively run the community organisation. They are representative of the diverse Somali speaking regions in Africa and are professionals in their chosen fields: academics, humanitarian in the UN, singer, folk dancers and businesswoman. All these mothers share one commitment which is helping the future employment/education prospects of their children and grand-children in the UK as well as the wider Somali speaking community in Brent
The overall aim of SAAFI organisation is to raise the profile of the British-Somali community in Brent and help them to integrate with the main stream of the British society through workshops, trainings and cultural events.
SAAFI is to:
- Provide advice, information and guidance on health, education, housing and welfare issues.
- Facilitate thematic workshops to raise the awareness of the challenges face by Somali single mothers and their children.
- Promote community participation, integration and cohesion
- Deliver trainings in Strengthening families and communities parenting, how to write CVs and interview techniques and conflict understanding and Peace building
- Enhance the well being and health of Somali mothers and their families thrugh organise cultural events and exhibition of Arts
- Provide advice, support and information guidance in regard to benefits, housing, health, education and legal system.
- Organise holiday schemes for the most disadvantaged families
- Advocate for the issues raised by the Somali women and their families
- Bridge the gab between Somali mothers and service providers
LONG TERM AIM:
The long term aim of SAAFI is to set up the first ever Somali Women’s centre to enable women and their families to have a base where they meet to share information, discuss issues that affect them, get trainings and workshops for women and their families and to link with the other organisations for opportunities