BOSTON, Mass. – The United Somali Women of Maine is one of four community-based organizations to receive a $20,000 grant from the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program for its work on the New Mainers Lead and Pesticide Prevention Program.

The program is set to develop and implement an outreach campaign that will educate the refugee population in the Lewiston-Auburn area of central Maine on lead hazards, the risks involved in pesticide application, and basic life skills that will enable them to keep their homes safe, clean and healthy.

The ultimate goals of the project are to reduce lead and pesticide dangers in homes and increase community capacity to ensure environmental quality and safety.

“EPA is pleased that this grant money will give a boost to helping this new Maine community group to learn more about important environmental health issues and then help their community take steps to protect their health,” said Ira. W. Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

United Somali Women of Maine works to promote self-sufficiency and economic empowerment, to increase access to health information and quality health care, to prevent violence and to promote a non-sexist, multicultural environment for Somali women and girls. It serves as a bridge between Somali and East African families in the Lewiston, Auburn and Portland area and local service providers, such as schools, social service agents, employers, police and medical establishments.

The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program is focused on supporting and empowering community-based organizations that are addressing environmental and/or public health problems at a local level through financial assistance. The long-term goals of the program are to build the capacity of affected communities and create self-sustaining partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future.

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