ECHO Minnesota is a unique and essential nonprofit organization that offers a wealth of tools about which I have written in the past. The mission of ECHO is to “bridge the communications gap for immigrants and refugees in Minnesota.” In this era when an increasing number of individuals and organizations are working to know and link with new populations the resources produced and promoted by ECHO are of inestimable value.
Just one example surfaced today on the ECHO website. ECHO has recently updated their “Cultural Toolkit” which provides background information about the several cultural and ethnic groups represented in Minnesota. ECHO is clear about the fact that the resources are not exhaustive but tools that offer a “strong groundwork for understanding.”
Key to the Cultural Toolkit, and an essential starting point, are the fact sheets that briefly describe common cultural norms, values and traits of different immigrant groups in the areas of familial structure, religion, communication styles, personal space, gender roles, and traditional beliefs on health and medicine. Service providers and others who just want to know their neighbors are well advised to start by checking the ECHO website for PDF files on Hispanic, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian, Karen and Arab cultures.
Browsers will want to explore the ECHO further to learn about ECHO TV and radio, the library DVDs, emergency services, PSA’s and more. The site is a virtual guide to an incredible treasure trove.
These cultural information sheets are the tip of the ECHO information iceberg. In the heat of August any iceberg is worthy of exploration – the incredible information “iceberg” created by ECHO will make information explorers forget the heat!