The primary purpose of Tasho is to prevent community deterioration. The metropolitan Twin Cities area has become the home of a sizable community of individuals and families who have arrived here from East Africa, particularly Somalia. Somalia itself has experienced considerable violence and deterioration in the past many years, which has torn at the fabric of community there. Tasho is an organization of people within this community who are determined to use the opportunity that a fresh start in a new country provides to heal the community, and to preserve and strengthen the connections between people – to preserve the very best of us all.
Much attention has been focused recently on the situation of Somali youth, some of whom, through a sense of alienation and disconnectedness, fall into criminal behavior – or worse. Tasho is committed to reaching out to young people to weave them into a healthy community, and keep them on the path toward success, not on a path toward violence. Tasho will develop strong after-school programs, including tutoring and English-language support, as well as youth sports leagues, to foster connections and academic success. These undertakings, particularly the English-language support, will be offered in tandem with similar programs for adult immigrants as well. Recent arrivals will have a much harder time succeeding in the United States without such language skills. We will also provide orientation services to new arrivals, to help them understand and navigate the culture and systems they encounter upon their arrival. People who have grown up here often take these for granted, while people who have only recently arrived often find them bewildering. Providing help in understanding these characteristics of the community will help immigrant individuals and families find their way and find their place within their new communities.
Tasho will also help adults who are seeking work, by helping provide information on how to build an effective resume and to search for work, while providing support where needed to help these people succeed in their new roles. We will offer ongoing education from community leaders in order to provide information, and to reinforce the critical sense of community connectedness that will benefit all.
Tasho will also help with services for seniors in our community, who often face isolation as well as difficulties in accomplishing needed tasks. For example, Tasho can help organize volunteers to help seniors with such needs as grocery shopping, shoveling snow, or rides to medical appointments. We also hope to have access to a space where seniors can come during the day for engaging programming and educational offerings. In Tasho’s view, elders, particularly our older women, are not just people in need of support and services; our elders are honored members of our community who have lifetimes of wisdom and experience to pass along to younger generations. Tasho will strive in all our efforts to include our elders, particularly our mothers, grandmothers, and other women, in all our programs as invaluable resources whose presence can be an important factor in maintaining strong, healthy communities.
Finally, Tasho is committed to promoting safety in our community, so that members don’t either fall victim to violence or wind up as perpetrators of it. Having arrived from a place that has for so long been characterized by violence, we know well how important safety is for our community. We want our constituents to be able to survive and indeed thrive in their new home. This is how we prevent community deterioration. Tasho expects to be able to offer services to people free of charge, though we will always welcome generous donations to support our work.