Helping Arabic Newcomer Families with Differently-abled Children to be Empowered (HAND2E)

MRCSSI was granted a $209,000 Community Vitality Grant from the London Community Foundation to implement the HAND2E project over two years. This project further builds on the pilot project that was supported by United Way Elgin Middlesex through the Emergency Community Support Fund that addressed the struggles experienced by families in accessing supports and services due to cultural and language barriers.

Many of the families served by the HAND2E program are not literate in their native language and know very little English, never having the opportunity to receive a formal education. Other families simply have not been able to complete the necessary paperwork to be eligible for services. Through the HAND2E program, parents develop self-advocacy skills, learn how to navigate the support services system, and are empowered to help other parents do the same – all while working with local service providers to develop culturally informed ways to better serve Arabic families.

By building a network of partners and connecting families with each other and the services they need, the MRCSSI is creating opportunities for many families stranded in a system they did not have the tools to navigate. We hope that through our partnership in the community, we are able to work on developing programs and services that are culturally appropriate and relevant. Our goal is to see these families well-integrated into the broader community and be a part of the fabric of the mosaic in London, and our hope is to have some of the parents become leaders and advocate for other families who are struggling with getting appropriate services.

“The team was very helpful. We benefited a lot from the meetings. They talk about a lot of information that is useful to us. We finally reached the final diagnosis of our son’s condition. They told us that they would keep in touch with us and our son’s school.”

A mother from a HAND family

“A good program through which I was able to know some of my rights and what I can offer to my disabled son”

A mother from a HAND family

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