Friends and Supporters,
From our family to yours, Ramadan Mubarak from Culture of Health – Advancing Together (CHAT). As we begin this blessed month, I wanted to take an opportunity to wish you health and happiness. Thank you for your ongoing support of CHAT. Because of your contributions, CHAT has been able to help countless immigrant families in our communities – providing everything from vaccines and ESL to after-school tutoring and adult computer literacy. We are so very grateful for all that you have helped us achieve.
CHAT was founded in 2015 to serve Houston’s refugee and immigrant population, primarily those residing in the Gulfton/Sharpstown area in Southwest Houston. Our mission is to foster the health and well-being of these underserved communities through education, arts, advocacy, and access to care. It’s a mission that has been especially challenging as these communities continue to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic and as we see more displaced families from around the world arrive in Houston every day.
CHAT is able to improve immigrant and refugee health and well-being by reducing isolation, facilitating acculturation, and connecting resources unlike any other existing organization in Houston. These are just a few examples from the past year on how CHAT makes a difference:
Many Afghan refugees who newly arrived in Houston for resettlement were left floundering upon arrival, with no way to obtain assistance and an urgent need for the most basic essentials. CHAT stepped in to provide relocation assistance, provide immediate support where possible, and connect families in need with sponsor families to offer everything from food and clothes to access to medical care and so much more.
Vaccine hesitancy remained at an all-time high in our communities, contributing to lower COVID-19 vaccination rates. CHAT volunteers are going door-to-door to provide at-risk families with in-language vaccine information to reduce confusion and distrust – bringing the vaccines to their homes for easy access.
CHAT now offers free English as a Second Language classes to allow immigrant and refugee adults to learn the basics of English. Our current classes include one for Spanish speakers and another for Afghan adults.
At CHAT, we believe that art engagement addresses the social determinants of health, which are linked to living and working conditions rather than healthcare. Because of this, art has been part of the core mission for CHAT from the beginning. CHAT recently released the first edition limited printing of “Reflections from Refuge,” an art book spotlighting students’ artwork from around the world. The book includes quotes from the students about their memories of their home countries, what they miss, and what they enjoy about Houston.
Computer literacy and access to technology resources emerged as two of the biggest challenges for immigrant and refugee communities during the pandemic. In response, CHAT launched a Computer Literacy Program to teach computer basics that cover everything from using a computer and the internet to how to search for a job or help your child with homework. Thanks to partners and donors, we have also provided computers, tablets, and internet access to families in need.
And all of this is in addition to our educational support programs in school (Girls’ Club for Success) and after-school (CHAT Academy), the Health Fairs, and other community events such as our back-to-school fair.
Your support means CHAT can continue operating its vital programs and services in the Gulfton area. It also means we can continue helping more people without turning anyone away. Please consider donating to CHAT this Ramadan. Your Zakat, Sadaqat, and generous donations are used to change the lives of children and families.
Dr. Aisha Siddiqui
CHAT Founder & Executive Director
Zelle — 713-247-9764