By Hamisi Juma, National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award Winner
My name is Hamisi Juma. I came to the U.S. in 2010 as refugee, after I spent 6 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. During my time in the refugee camp, I was a youth supervisor at Youth Center. This program was established by different community members including me. Because of the difficult situation in the camp, most of the youth was involved in drugs, alcohol, and early pregnancies.
After I resettled in U.S. and saw most of the African and immigrants struggling a lot in the same ways I saw in the refugee camp, I felt concerned and looked for a way I could help them. My question was how, when, and where I can get a place to help them? I started looking for some non-profit organizations for help, and decided to create the Safari Youth Club, with the goals of helping them for their future life.
At the beginning, I started a soccer program as a vehicle for bringing them to the program, because most of our youth love to play soccer. We started with 18 kids in the program, and by 6 months we had 60 kids. We always used the soccer program and music program to get them interested, so we can give them the message about their future life. During this time we started to get to know each other better, and I felt like they needed help for some classes at school, especially Mathematics and English. Sometimes when you get here they don’t look for at knowledge, they look at your age to determine which grade you will start in, which most of the time makes it difficult for students to integrate very well and do well at school.
After a year running this program, we saw a huge impact for these youth to gain more knowledge, and the sports events even helped them to get scholarships.
“As a refugee, Hamisi took the opportunity to help and empower young refugees and immigrants to reach their goals. Due to the unsupervision of the refugee youth and immigrants, Hamisi started the afterschool school program for this generation in order to keep them busy, so they can stay out of the trouble. Running 2 years the program without any grant, but supporting the program running with his own pocket money, so he can help this generation, passionate to do so. The organization started with 18 people, today count 70 kids for his effort to help them for home work and more mentoring. His goals are to see this generation succeed, and well integrated in this new environment and keep focusing for their education to help our community.” – Haji Juma
Author: Hamisi Juma, President and CEO of Safari Youth Club.
Learn more about Safari Youth Club here.
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