Somali Bantu women helping one another

Basket Weaving

Basket weaving is a traditional art form and an important part of the Bantu culture, a skill passed from mother to daughter. This is an entrepreneurial program that provides a form of employment where women are able to work from their homes, helping to earn financial autonomy, enhance self-esteem, and share the artistry of Bantu culture.

These beautiful handwoven baskets are available for purchase at the Whiting Farm Stand, Auburn Farmers Market, and the Yarmouth Farmers Market. 

Contact our office staff for more information. 

These beautiful handwoven baskets are available for purchase at the Whiting Farm Stand, Auburn Farmers Market, and the Yarmouth Farmers Market.

Conflict Resolution

The Conflict Resolution program began in 2009 as a way to improve cross-cultural understanding between local law enforcement and the Bantu community. By creating space for dialogue and education, the program has significantly lowered the number of arrests and incidents of domestic violence within the Bantu community. It has also empowered the Bantus to solve disputes by using traditional Bantu methods for settling conflict through community-based mediation. 

Contact our office staff for more information. 

Kasheekee

The Kasheekee, or “Cultural Telling Room”, is a comprehensive youth development program that immerses children in Somali and Bantu cultural traditions, dances, and arts through storytelling. By partnering with Maine Refugee and Immigrant Services, this program also supports Bantu youth through tutoring and homework help, field trips during the summer, and nutritious food provided by Lewiston Public Schools. The goal of the program is designed to encourage Bantu youth to develop healthy identities that celebrates both their American upbringing and Bantu cultural heritage.

Dancing & Music

Youth are taught how to use various traditional instruments, including drums. Not only important as art forms, drumming is also a central part of Bantu healing traditions. 

Arts

Basket weaving is a cultural art form that is passed from generation to generation. Baskets were an essential part of daily life, they were woven to gather fruit in the wild and collect meat from hunting and were a traditional wedding gift. In Bantu culture, the baskets were also used to convey the tribal status and economic standing of the owner. The skill of weaving, along with the cultural importance of baskets, are shared with the youth to enhance their appreciation of this art form.

Storytelling

Youth in the program film and make written records of conversations with Bantu elders about their life. This practice assists the youth in developing their writing skills while preserving the history and stories of the Bantu elders who have survived war, famine, and the refugee camps. Capturing these oral histories is an essential act of preserving and uplifting marginalized voices.

Kasheekee meets every Thursday and Friday from 4:00pm-6:00pm. 

Contact our office staff for more information. 

Medical Reconciliation

This is a direct-access program that sends health ambassadors into the homes of the Bantu community. This program incorporates both traditional healers and healing techniques, as well as Western medical diagnosis, as a way to holistically approach community health. The Medical Reconciliation Program provides information and intervention on a broad range of health-related topics including:
• Information on nutritional issues (organic vs. conventionally grown, foods with high nutritional values vs. “junk food,” such as those with high sugar, sodium, etc.)
• Information on exercise as it relates to health
• Training on the procedure for checking blood sugar, especially those managing diabetes
• Reviews of prescriptions and inventories of the medications in the home, discarding meds that have either been replaced or that have expired
• Reviews of correct medicine dosages
• Information about insurance coverage for family members and assistance with connecting the uninsured to providers, offering information about free and sliding-scale health programs
• “Walk With Me” is encouraging women to walk and talk as a way to increase physical activity
• Preventative care and preventative medicine to lessen reliance on emergency care

Contact our office staff for more information. 

Translation & Interpretation

SBCA recognizes the importance of strong cross-cultural communication and is happy to provide translation and interpretation services when requested. For more information, please call (207) 784-5559 or email info@somalibantumaine.org.

Immigration Services

SBCA provides comprehensive immigration services support. This includes assistance in preparing for the citizenship interview and printing and filling out green card applications. 

Contact our office staff for more information.