It’s been said that undocumented immigrants in America are “people in the shadows,” but the nonprofit South Asian Network (SAN) is trying to bring some light into those shadows in the Los Angeles area, especially when it comes to health care. According to their own website:
“South Asian Network was founded in 1990 to provide an open forum for people of South Asian origin to gather and discuss social, economic, and political issues affecting the community, with the goal of raising awareness, engagement and advocacy among community members leading to an empowered and active community.”
A small crowd of SAN volunteers is going to every home and business in isolated neighborhoods and immigrant communities to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Health Care Plan. Many of the immigrants they speak with have never heard of Affordable Health Care or did not know they may be eligible for health care.
Health Care – Lost in Translation
While the details of “Obamacare” are available online in Chinese, Korean, and Spanish, SAN volunteers are explaining the Affordable Health Care Act in languages that include Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Punjabi and Gujarati. Immigrants from some nations are not even entirely clear on the concept of what health insurance is. “It helps to be right at the scene,” Manjusha Kulkarni said. Kulkarni is the executive director of the SAN. “They need to see you face to face, to hear that you speak their language,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Health Care for All
In a large apartment complex filled with Bangladeshi families on L.A.’s South Kenmore Avenue, only one person in the building has heard of Obamacare. The goal for the SAN volunteers is to gather the names and addresses of immigrants who don’t know about the healthcare reform or don’t speak any of the languages offered in the brochures. From there, volunteers will set up appointments to help immigrants sign up for health care insurance.
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