SAYFSM serves African immigrants and refugees with culturally appropriate HIV and chronic diseases education and social services.
"I am a woman from Cameroon. I used to think it was shameful that someone would have HIV. I thought only people who lived immoral lives got HIV and that as long as I was living a good, moral life I wasn't in any danger of being infected." "Then I got a phone call....I was HIV positive." "I left the hospital that day very sad, believeing that I would die. I had no hope." My neice called SAYFSM. SAYFSM staff sat down with me, educated me about HIV, and referred me to an HIV doctor. They encouraged me to attend the SAYFSM HIV Support Group. "I went to the next meeting of the support group and met wonderful people. I couldn't believe everyone there had HIV - the women looked healthy and beautiful! The support group continues to be a source of strength, and I try to never miss a meeting."
SAYFSM programs include:
Care Advocacy: provides assistance with basic needs, such as housing, furniture, household items, food, clothing, employment; referrals to clinics, mental health providers, legal services, ESL classes; translation and interpreting; and transportation to appointments and SAYFSM activities.
Women's Self-Sufficiency Program: Under One Roof: SAYFSM offers African immigrant women sewing/quilting and spinning classes. The women sell their items or keep them for personal use. The women are given health education on such topics as HIV/STDs, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, healthful eating, etc.
Education and Outreach:
- The agency educates the community about HIV prevention and risk reduction, presenting at community events, in small group settings at ESL classes, churches, youth gatherings, and to groups of newly resettled refugees.
- SAYFSM works with ClearWay MN and Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (ANSR) to both educate about the harmful effects of smoking and to assist individuals in accessing smoking cessation services.
Medical Case Management: The program meets the needs of African individuals living with HIV/AIDS who need longer-term, intensive support. The case managers conduct risk assessments and create care plans to address client needs from a holistic perspective. They help clients access health services and promote quality health outcomes, empowering them with education about HIV/AIDS, treatment, and medication options, and help clients access necessary resources to address housing, transportation, employment, education, legal, insurance, or other needs.
HIV/AIDS Support Group: A culturally appropriate emotional and spiritual support group for African immigrants and refugees living with HIV.
Ijole Children's Program: The program offers opportunities for acculturation and socialization for parents and their children through field trips to local parks, beaches/pools, museums, and theaters.
Dadoo: A community engagement project for African immigrant women. The women meet over coffee and discuss issues of importance to themselves and their communities. They learn problem solving skills to find solutions to personal and community issues and implement these solutions.