Invitation: CAfRIC International 4th Anniversary and Scholarship Awards

Saturday June 15th 2019 from 6-11pm at 2233 South Millway, Mississauga, ON L5L 3H7

CAfRIC team with the Hasham Family

CAfRIC International is inviting community members for a celebration of their 4th anniversary and presentation of the Hasham Family Scholarships to the chosen qualified applicants.

This will take place on Saturday June 15th 2019 from 6 pm-11 pm in the Arbour Green Room of South Common Community Centre, located at 2233 South Millway, Mississauga, ON L5L 3H7. Admission is free but attendees must register online at https://cafricjune15.eventbrite.ca.

The interactive event will feature a moderated discussion titled “The intersection between religion, stigma and mental health outcomes of African and Caribbean Black (ACB) people”, and will include a panel of multi-faith religious leaders from the black community.

The Hasham Family Scholarships are five, $1000 scholarships donated by the Hasham family to aid members of the Black Community who have been affected by mental health or addiction to access formal education and gain trade skills to help integrate in the larger society.

The scholarships were announced by the Hasham Family during the CAfRIC Family Day Workshop held on February 16, 2019 in Etobicoke. The interactive workshop was aimed at promoting mental wellness for ACB people, and featured a variety of presentations from professionals and members of the black community. In honour of Black History Month, Nyonza International Singers started off with a song tribute and a performance of the Canadian National Anthem.

The presentations topics were:

  • Social Bullying and Anti-Black Racism: Facilitated by Nancy Wangui, A social worker and mental health clinician with William Osler Health, this session examined the micro-aggressions experienced by ACB people, and the impact on heath outcomes, especially in children.
  • The unique experiences of Black Immigrant youth: challenges and opportunities: This moderated discussion featured a panel of five youth members of the black community: Mugwe Kiragu, Roselyn Wanjiru, Amal Mohammed, Carol Irungu, and Joshua Kiama, who shared their personal experiences navigating the Canadian system; the challenges they faced and the opportunities that allowed them to cope and adapt.
  • Treatment Options and Harm Reduction for Alcohol and Opioid use: Here, Dr. Nena Watson, an addiction doctor and Family Physician at St. Michael’s hospital explored the trajectory of alcohol and opioid use disorders, and the recommended evidence based treatment options; while Camille Keith, an addiction counsellor at Women’s College hospital discussed the use of naloxone for the prevention and treatment of opioid overdose.
  • Barriers That Impact Mental Health Outcomes of ACB People: In this interactive session, Hoodo Ibrahim, a Nurse Practitioner in the Schizophrenia Outpatient Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, deliberated about social barriers that impact early identification/diagnosis, access to treatment and treatment adherence for mental health and substance use disorders among ACB people.
  • Coping with Grief and Loss: Chris Leonard, the Director of health promotion at the Black Coalition For AIDS Prevention (BLACK CAP) and a private consultant, led an interactive discussion about the various manifestations of grief and loss, and the various ways that people cope with the emotions of grief and loss

According to Statistics Canada, in 2009, Black Canadians represented 2.9 % of the overall Canadian population, but they made 18% of Canadians living in poverty. In addition, a 2012 report by the Wellesley Institute found that Black immigrants in Canada were 76% more likely to assess themselves as “unhealthy” compared to other racialized groups; and stigma and/or discrimination attached to mental illness represent a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community (Canadian Mental Health Association [CMHA], 2016).


CAfRIC International’s mission is to promote health and wellbeing of Black Canadians by raising awareness about social issues that influence their health outcomes so people can make informed choices. These issues have remained the focus of CAfRIC’s events in the past and continue to guide topic choices for future events. CAfRIC endeavors to make this information accessible to everyone by hosting events at no cost to attendees, and therefore welcomes financial and/or inkind support.  Donations can be made through https://fundrazr.com/cafricfamilydayworkshop?ref=tx_f7q5D9 or by email at [email protected]

CAfRIC International thanks all the people who continue to attend their events. Special thanks to the Hasham Family for donating the scholarships, all the presenters and panelists for their time and expertise and everyone who volunteers their time and resources.

Photos by Sue Githae for Wakenya Canada

~Wakenya Canada

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