Wakenya Pamoja BostonThe Kenyan Community is proud to join and support Samaritans 2019 Breakfast for Hope as first time attendees. In our time of need, Samaritans offered hope, to partner with and support the Kenyan community as we came to terms, tried to cope, and looked for answers to the number of suicides affecting our community.

In 2018, the Kenyan community in the USA dealt with at least 14 young adult suicides — 6 of them here in Massachusetts. As an immigrant community, Kenyans have straddled both worlds, with difficult social, economic, expectations, and financial challenges, which may lead to depression and suffering in silence.

Suicide and mental illness is a taboo topic in the Kenyan culture — a discussion that most Kenyans in the USA still avoid to discuss and accept. Depression is stigmatized in the Kenyan culture; in fact, there is no word in the native languages for depression. On November 17, 2018, Samaritans partnered with us and presented at our community event discussion on mental health, with a focus on teenagers and young adults who have first-generation parents. We were able to have a discussion among the parents, young adults  and children, to work towards sensitizing the community on this issue as a way of breaking the stigma.

A number of Kenyans have benefited from the many resources provided by Samaritans, from Grief Support Services to 24/7 Crisis Services to Community Education and Outreach. Knowing that there is an organization that will stand with you when  you need them is reassuring. We are indebted to Samaritans for their time, support and work towards increasing awareness on suicide prevention and for  providing hope to our community among others.

We are thankful to Mr. Joseph Feaster for connecting the local Kenyan community with Samaritans. Mr. Feaster, a husband, father, community organizer and a mentor; we are thankful for your work. Thank you Samaritans! Thank you for opening the door that gave us a platform to change the way we think about suicide and for partnering with us. Thank you for making it possible to know that you will answer when we call.

– Wakenya Pamoja Boston
“I’m as strong as the weakest Kenyan.”