The meaning of “Kajsiab”
In Hmong, Kajsiab (Ga shee’ ah) means the relief of stress and tension from worrying about the safety of loved ones.
Kajsiab House, founded in January 2000, is a program of Journey Mental Health Center, Inc. Kajsiab house was developed for and by the Hmong Community, as a place in which Hmong elders and their families can be safe, express and experience culture, increase their understanding and the ability to live successfully within an American cultural context and receive help and treatment for mental health issues.
Who are the Participants?
Kajsiab House participants are Hmong refugees and American Citizens, widows of veterans and other adults who have severe health problems because of their services and sacrifices in America’s “Secret War” in Laos from 1961 to 1975 or because of life in refugee camps after the war. Of the 5,000 Hmong Hmong Americans living in Dane County, over 300 are war veterans or widows of veterans. A high percentage of elders live with severe health problems, such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and chronic pain that were caused by their war and refugee experiences. In addition, language, cultural and transportation barriers, as well as unmet social and health problems that social services and health care providers lack the skills and resources to address have complicated their assimilation into American society.
Program Services offered are:
- Cultural Brokering and Case Management: Professional bilingual, cultural brokers provide counseling, (individual, family, group) advocacy, translation and case management.
- Hmong Sister Group: “Hmong Women’s therapy and support group.
- Psychological, Psychiatric, & Alternative Medicine Services: Individual, family, group therapeutic services & medication consultation.
- Social/Recreational Activities: Field trips, social gatherings. Games
- Transportation is available to Kajsiab house participants
- Meal Program: Nutritious breakfast and lunch offered
- Hmong & English Classes: weekly English language classes.
- Citizenship Classes: To prepare Hmong Adults and elders to become citizens. American government, history and culture are taught.
- Internship: Kajsiab house is a place where college students and professionals can gain better understanding of Hmong health issues, culture and culturally competent services
Impact of Kajsiab House
Gives Hmong elders and families hope for a better life in the community by encouraging them to participate in activities
Improves the mental, emotional and physical well being or participants
Creates and atmosphere that fosters respect for Hmong culture and ancestral traditions while participants learn about living in American society and culture
“When Hmong elders come to Kajsiab House, their spirits are lifted. Kajsiab is the eye, ear and voice for many Hmong elders in America.” Anonymous participant.
Kajsiab House is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and some weekends and evenings for educational and special cultural events.