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IMARA Generation Project

Questions & Answers

What is the IMARA Generation Project?

The word IMARA, literally translated from Swahili means steadfast, strong, or resolute.
The IMARA Generation Project is a peer-led and peer-designed mental health project for Black youth, aged 15-24, who are facing mental health challenges.

TAIBU Community Health Centre serves Black-identifying individuals who live across the Grater Toronto Area.

What does an Africentric approach mean?

The IMARA Generation Project is designed to validate lived experiences, cultural norms, values, and interpretations commonly held by members of the Black community.

Why is an Africentric approach important for TAIBU’s clients?

Often, Black clients are frustrated by the gap in resources from other community agencies which don’t reflect Black culture or address anti-Black racism. If the approach doesn’t reflect Black culture and values, it’s less likely to achieve success.

TAIBU’s programs and services are designed to reflect the Black client experience and to meet clients where they are at for the best outcome.

What’s makes IMARA and this approach more appropriate for Black youth clients?

Solutions that don’t consider Black culture, values, and norms, may be ineffective for members of the Black community.

i.e., If a health care provider does not take an Africentric approach to assessment and treatment of Diabetes, the client may not discuss common Caribbean foods, such as plantains, which should be excluded from the diet. If the provider is less familiar, the discussion may not happen.

Why does the Africentric approach matter so much for youth mental health?
Day-to-day interactions are often constant reminders of systemic racism in the health, education, and criminal justice systems. These lived experiences are already factored into assessment and proposed treatment that is offered by Black care providers because they understand the client’s background.
Does the IMARA Generation Project really help youth with mental health concerns?
Culturally, the Black community respects teachers, elders, mentors and families. An approach to care that does not take these factors, along with concepts of village-building, spirituality and community into consideration may not resonate and have a meaningful impact on a Black youth’s mental health.
What will I learn about in the IMARA Generation Project?

The group starts by building a common ground – teaching shared history, terminology, and pop-culture that is embodied in an Africentric approach. Together, with a mental health consultant, coordinators and facilitators support youth in activities and discussions to explore their own experiences and concerns in a safe space where they can collaborate and support each other to identify solutions.

Will I feel like I’m in a school classroom?
The IMARA Generation Project does not feel anything like a classroom. It is a safe place where youth with common experiences can feel free to learn and share their grief, joy, and moments of clarity.
Can I join IMARA anytime?

The IMARA Generation Project welcomes the first group of participants in January 2022. Registered participants will be contacted directly if COVID-19 restrictions move the program to online, virtual delivery.

How can I join the IMARA Generation Project?
Register online to join the IMARA Generation Project or contact the Program Coordinator at 416- 554 – 5655

The IMARA project is funded by Public Health Agency of Canada