SEE FORWARD MINISTRIES : COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE
First, THANK YOU!
Your interest and support in See Forward Ministries has helped us stay active in assisting people whose primary language is not English. Catch our energy!
See Forward Ministries (SFM) is a bridge/connection between US Citizens refugees and immigrants to learn about the each other’s culture and to help mentor, support and guide each other.
In times of difficulties such as the current fight against Covid-19; See Forward Ministries is not just sitting back and watching. This blog will inform and update you on step-by-step actions that the SFM organization has taken in support and in partnership with all those who are working tirelessly to put an end to this pandemic.
When the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, the SFM team started thinking of ways to assist members of our community whose first language is not English. It was at times when so much information was in news and more information started getting shared in social media.
Knowing how much misinformation was being shared and consumed by members of our community, the SFM team decided to take an initiative of following the news both on national level and local news.
See Forward Ministries team also decided to do continuous research by visiting the official websites of trusted government institutions such as CDC, FDA, State and City Health Departments and other verified sources of information relating to the pandemic in effort to fact check all the information in news and social media.
Early in March 2020, we decided that the best way to inform members of our community whose primary language is Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, kinyamurenge, Kibembe, Swahili and French were to translate most verified information and updates for the purpose of sharing them with folks in our community.
After posting the first video which was viewed by over 700 people on SFM Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/see4ward/ and the second video which was viewed by over 1100 people in our multicultural community; We quickly realized the importance of the work that we had done and so we kept on working hard in that effort by updating refugees and immigrants in our community via all of See Forward Ministries social media platforms as the need for that work was obviously very important for our organization and those that we serve.
We then reached out to leaders of different refugee and immigrants communities in Louisville and shared with them our organization’s concern for all the misinformation and myths which were being circulated in our multicultural communities. And, we asked them to direct members of their communities to us as a verified source of information and based on the trusted relationship between those leaders and the Executive Director of See Forward Ministries, they understood our request and played a huge role in making sure that their groups would pay attention to the information which were being shared through See Forward Ministries social media platforms.
Shortly afterward, we were identified by not only refugees and immigrants, but also those whose passion and work intersect with refugees and immigrants in our community in one way or the other and so, they noticed SFM’s effort and believed in us as an efficient platform or channel to share more trusted information and updates.
Eventually, See Forward Ministries was connected to the Office for Globalization in Louisville, KY whose leaders also decided to put their trust and support behind SFM effort to inform and lead refugees and immigrants in Louisville community throughout this pandemic.
Since the beginning of that partnership with the Office for Globalization, SFM’s effort to serve refugees and immigrants in our community has turned out to be more productive in so many different ways.
Since the beginning of that partnership with the Office for Globalization, our effort to serve refugees and immigrants in our community has turned out to be more productive in so many different ways.
With the help and support from Office for Globalization, we were chosen as one of their partners in effort to get members of our community tested for COVID-19 and SFM events drew in 95 people in our community who got tested and were given masks and educational kits with useful information written in languages understood by the recipients.
These events were planned in collaboration by the Office for Globalization and executed by See Forward Ministries and they couldn't be successful without working well with Louisville Metro Health Department who assisted with funding; Blue water company who did the testing; Buechel United Methodist Church (BUMC) who provided a testing site and needed transportation means; Middletown United Methodist Church who provided flu shots in an effort to attract attendees, Christ Church United Methodist Church who donated coats to give away during COVID-19 testing events season; supports of the leadership of different refugees and immigrants communities as well as a team of Multicultural Community Ambassadors who are key leaders in their diasporas.
Furthermore, our partnership with the Office for Globalization has allowed us to receive over $200000 in grant which was used to conduct Multicultural Financial Need Assessment for families who are struggling the most in our community. With that project and again with the help of our trusted community leaders and ambassadors; we were able to identify 84 households in our refugee and immigrant community who are struggling the most and assisted them with covering the cost of their monthly rent or utilities or medical and in some case other bills which were causing more additional stress and burden in their families.
Although we were well aware of the fact that this pandemic took such a toll on so many families in our community, SFM team once again realized the importance of the work by hearing stories of affirmation from a few families that we were able to assist.
For instance, one of the beneficiaries of that financial support was an elder couple who lives with their children and grandchildren. The head of the household in that family had gotten too sick and couldn't work any longer which forced his oldest child to drop out of college so that he can come back home to work for the family, since he was the only one among other children old enough to work.
In addition to that struggle, their apartment was caught on fire and so they ended up in a motel for a while until they finally found another place to live. However, since their income was still insufficient, bills and problems in their household forced them to cut off their heat during the cold winter months so that they could at least find ways to save some money to keep feeding the family.
See Forward Ministries was glad to be an outlet for them to once again see a glimpse of hope not only by providing that financial support to them but also advising them and connecting them to other sources of support in our community!
Recently, a highlight of SFM work and partnerships throughout this COVID-19 pandemic happened when it’s Executive Director was selected among only four community influencers in the multicultural community of Louisville, to get vaccinated in front of the media in an effort to encourage others in our multicultural community who are overwhelmed by so much misinformation and myths about receiving COVID-19 Vaccine.
After that event which was aired by multiple local TV channels; there is greater hope that more refugees and immigrants will take advantage of the vaccine when their turn to get vaccinated arrives.
Brief version of See Forward Ministries’ activities thus far:
- Disseminated factual information about Covid-19 to refugees and immigrants to offset the misinformation found on social media.
- Enlisted the help of community leaders to encourage their communities to trust us and listen to us.
- Worked with other organizations to give flu shots and Covid-19 testing to those that we serve.
- Recognized by the Office of Globalization and other service organizations.
- Received grants totaling $ 211,500.00
What are the next steps for See Forward Ministries?
See Forward Ministries has a Big Dream of renting space for office and community programs, staffed by paid employees which will function as a community center for activities and resources in the Buechel area.
Fortunately, Buechel United Methodist Church (BUMC) has a vacant facility which would be perfect for us to carry on the great work that we are trying to do in our community. BUMC has allowed us to use that facility during the last several months free of cost, but they are looking for ways to rent it out again -costs for renting that facility, including maintaining utilities will run close to $5500/month.
Having realized the importance of the work that we are doing in our community and for the many refugees and immigrants who are relying on us, the SFM organization would like to hire a team of at least 2 coordinators and 3 translators to execute SFM mission in our community. SFM annual payroll budget for those much-needed staff is estimated to be $100,000.
See Forward Ministries BIG DREAM campaign is to raise $200,000 which will cover a full year in rent, utilities and staffing.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
a. Share this blog and let people know about us.
b. Find volunteers who can work with us.
c. Donate money to help us increase SFM capacity and expand SFM services, for instance:
i. $ 20 hire a translator for one hour
ii. $ 2000.00 would pay one month’s salary for a coordinator (who is currently doing this as a volunteer)
iii. $ 1200 would help cover cost for monthly utility bills
iv. $ 5000 would pay for gas or vehicle maintenance used to transport clients to health-care events.
V. Be a Co-Sponsor (Individuals or groups which can host fundraising events for SFM)
The journey continues and we hope that you can join us on this this path!
For more information, please contact us via the link below:
For your donation, please follow the link below