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Support Offered To Welsh Somalis
The project aims to provide information to Somali people
Cardiff, February 2, 2006 (BBC News) – Somali people living in Wales are being given more support to access services such as health and education in an attempt to combat social exclusion.
The Somali community is one of Wales' oldest ethnic groups but is also one of the most economically deprived and excluded from mainstream society.
Only 5% of Cardiff Somalis are in employment, according to a report on social exclusion in Wales.
The assembly government-funded project aims to give information on services.
The idea of the all-Wales project has come from the Somali Integration Society (SIS) and was launched by Social Justice Minister Edwina Hart on Thursday.
Organizers say it is designed to improve the position of the Somali community in Wales, through the provision of practical advice, guidance, information and life skills.
The £234,000 three-year scheme is funded through the Welsh Assembly Government's community facilities and activities programme.
Ibrahim Harbi is one of the organizers of the new scheme
It will focus on the key areas of health, employment and training, education and community safety and provide information to the Somali community on how to access the services.
Three workers will be employed to manage the project, including workers who will travel around the community offering advice.
Ibrahim Harbi, the coordinator of SIS, said he hoped the scheme would provide opportunities to equip people with the life skills, confidence, and information to enable them better access to key services to improve their health, education and employment prospects.
"Many Somalis in Wales have fled their homelands because of civil war and can often feel traumatized by this brutal experience, as well as feeling isolated and unable to access key public services," said Mr Harbi.
"SIS will be working with partner agencies through this project to positively change the lives of the Somali community, tackle social exclusion, improve social enterprise and let them fulfill their full potential".
Wales' Somali community is around 7,000 strong
Cardiff South and Penarth AM Lorraine Barrett said: "I am delighted to have been able to support the Somali Integration Society's new project.
"The Somali community in my Cardiff South constituency is the largest British-born Somali population in the UK and one of the oldest minority ethnic groups in Wales - yet it is also one of the most economically deprived and socially excluded communities.
"That is why this project is so crucial.
"Equipping the community with life-skills, confidence and information will help tackle social exclusion and improve the lives of the Somali community, not only in Cardiff but in all parts of Wales."