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YSMENA at its Core

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YSMENA Study is a community centered, collaborative organization. Our mission is to develop effective HIV prevention strategies that are founded in community feedback and accessibility. Our aim is to develop sexual health resources and interventions that promote, celebrate and are inclusive of all young individuals. Our studies, programs and community partnerships aim to consider the wider demographic and understand how the various determinants of health (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, race, class, violence, religion, culture, language, disability, immigration status, and socio-economic status) can improve the lives and health of our communities. Ultimately, we want to approach our role with respect, understanding, and growth by valuing and partnering with the communities we hope to serve. 

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The YSMENA Study is committed to working with community partners and others to learn about and implement community focused health and wellbeing supports that are inclusive and free of judgement. We focus on pursuing our work from an anti-racist, anti-oppression, and multilingual participatory framework to address the issue of HIV risk and sexual behaviour among MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) youth residing in Ontario and British Columbia. However, our vision is for these supports, preventions, interventions and health resources to be utilized by MENA communities and youth throughout Canada and beyond.



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YSMENA strives for honestly, accountability and responsibility in everything we do. Integrity is key to establishing trust. We do so by working ethically,   guided by our principles in all decisions YSMENA makes. 

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Committed to promoting a respectful environment for everyone involved, YSMENA works from a model of respect. By doing so, we aim to promote an organization that is safe, honours its members, and builds feelings of esteem for all. 

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Inclusivity, and an equitable value system, are core to YSMENA values. They are needed to acknowledge the complexity of identities while addressing the disparities in health for MENA communities that stem from systemic inequalities. 

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Our strength lies in our community partnerships and collaborations. YSMENA is committed to working with community members through all stages of our community-based research studies. 

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YSMENA works to raise awareness of the disparities found within the MENA community in Ontario, BC and throughout Canada. By empowering the community, we strive to build strength and resilience within MENA culture while building understanding of its richly diverse communities. 

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We value the ability to create and spread social awareness around topics of (sexual, physical, mental) health and wellbeing for MENA youth. Our goals are toward creating lasting, positive social change in the communities we serve. 

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Land Acknowlegement

We acknowledge that Western University, and YSMENA, is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek (Ah-nish-in-a-bek), Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-no-show-nee), Lūnaapéewak (Len-ahpay- wuk) and Chonnonton (Chun-ongk-ton) Nations, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum.

With this, YSMENA respects the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have with this land as its original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research, and community service efforts.

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