Enhancing Health Education Beyond Borders: Community Health Workers in Action at Kino Border Initiatives
In service to our partner and neighbor organization Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, SEAHEC has developed monthly health education sessions. Initiating in February 2021, our Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide health education to migrants in Spanish and health education materials in other languages when requested (e.g., English, Haitian Creole, and Cakchiquel). During our time at KBI, CHW’s have one-on-one education interactions with guests, hold workshops with interactive activities and provide culturally appropriate educational material. Guests are also able to keep in touch with our CHWs via WhatsApp, and eventually be connected with other needed resources when they cross into the United States.
“My role in this invaluable initiative is to create culturally and linguistically appropriate educational materials for our audience. I pay great attention to the needs of the guests and provide them with additional resources as needed.”- CHW Mariana
SEAHEC CHW’s understand KBI guests have undergone unfathomable challenges during their travels across Latin America for “El Sueno Americano”. These treacherous journeys have left migrant families mentally scarred. Empathy, respect, and compassion are vital as families need time to heal physically and mentally. SEAHEC CHW’s are equipped to provide this type of caring group, & one-on-one interaction with migrant families, as well as assistance beyond health education. CHW’s are compassionate listeners, advocates, and leaders. These qualities create a trusting relationship between KBI guests and SEAHEC CHW’s.
Along the roads of success also lie challenges; CHW Mariana shared a challenge she encountered and the method she used to best resolve it.
“Challenges we have faced providing health education to migrants include trying to grab everyone’s attention and interest in the different health topics, given the traumatic experiences and conflicting priorities migrant guests may have. One way I have learned to overcome this is to start with 5 minutes dedicated to mental health practices, such as Capacitar training (a methodology developed by Capacitar International, in response to addressing global disaster and other traumatic situations). This helps guests relax and focus during the educational session.”- CHW Mariana
SEAHEC will continue contributing to the lives of migrants searching for a better tomorrow at Kino Border Initiatives through a variety of health education courses. We at SEAHEC believe that together, we make a difference, and our community health workers are exemplar believers of our mission.
SEAHEC Community Health Workers in action at KBI.
(Left to Right) CHW Amy Pacheco, Healthcare Coordinator Susana Gastelum