Who We Are
The Bantu are a historically marginalized ethnic group of the East African country of Somalia. Even before the war inSomalia began, the Bantu faced many hardships. Access to education for the Somali Bantu was restricted and therefore many adults are illiterate. In 1991, civil war broke out in Somalia, and many Somali Bantu people escaped to refugee camps in Kenya. After many years in the camps with few educational and career options, many Somali Bantu chose to relocate to the U.S. with refugee status.
The Lansing area is one of the main refugee resettlement destinations in Michigan, and there is a large population of Somali Bantu refugees here. We established the Lansing Somali Bantu (LSB) Organization in 2008 to improve the lives of our community and advocate for the needs of the Somali Bantu people. In October of that year, the LSB successfully applied for 501-©3 non-profit status, and by 2009 had procured an office to rent as a meeting space for the community. The LSB in Lansing started with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for children and adults, focusing on reading, writing, speaking, and interpretation skills.