Cultural Broker

Tsinat Institute provides support and guidance to families raising a child with special needs. It is important to remind yourself that you are not alone; there are others out there who can relate to your circumstance.

Tsinat Institute Cultural Broker Service is a vital resource that bridges the gap between individuals with disabilities and the broader cultural community. This unique service recognizes and values the diverse cultural backgrounds of people with disabilities, aiming to promote cultural understanding and inclusion.


Tsinat Institute offers a range of cultural broker services tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals with disabilities within the Ethiopian cultural contexts and work towards breaking down communication and barriers. Cultural brokers act as intermediaries, providing interpretation, translation, and guidance to both individuals with disabilities and service providers. By serving as advocates and educators, the Tsinat Institute Cultural Broker Service enhances accessibility to services, promotes culturally sensitive approaches, and fosters a more inclusive environment where individuals with disabilities can fully participate and thrive within the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities.

What is “The 300 Leaders” Training?

Tsinat youth training, called “The 300 Leaders,” is a program established to empower and equip young leaders with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Ethiopian community. The “300 Leaders” program was established to provide free leadership training for Ethiopian ancestry youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will focus on creating mature and competent citizens who will be able to make a significant contribution to the community. The 300 Leadership is planned to be completed in a 4 months time span. The project will run from January 7, 2021, to April 10, 2021.

Why is the leadership training needed?

The Washington Metropolitan region is home to the largest number of Ethiopian migrants in the world. Today, Ethiopians are the largest African immigrant group in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, making up one-fifth of the region’s African diaspora. Due to the highest number of Ethiopian immigrants in the DC area, in 2004 DC Mayor signed the DC Language Access Act. This Act provided government services in the Ethiopian native language, called Amharic. Montgomery County is the first jurisdiction in the nation to name September African Heritage Month and host the annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring, MD.

Based on a joint report presented by World Health Organization, there are an estimated 15 million people with disabilities in Ethiopia. This number represents 17.6 % of the population. Traditionally, families with disabled children, especially intellectual and developmental disabilities, are considered to be punished as a consequence of the anger of God or an ancestral spirit. As a result, only 3% of the country’s estimated children with disabilities go to school.

Ethiopian immigrants in the U.S. directly reflect persons with disabilities in Ethiopia. In the Ethiopian community, people with disabilities face negative stereotypes. They face different barrios, such us communication, physical, social, and other barriers, that prevent them from learning, living, working, and playing in their communities. With a concern of negative stereotype labeling, most people with disabilities are not willing to identify themselves in the community. In the U.S., an estimated 98 % of Ethiopian persons with disabilities depend on government assistance or family support. People with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society. Providing training opportunities for youth with disabilities is our top priority for reducing poverty and removing barriers of attitude, stereotypes, and communication in the Ethiopian community.

What are the activities of the 300 Leaders?

The present leadership training opts to focus specifically on the leadership development of youth groups with disabilities. Selected participants will participate in leadership development training that prepares them for future employment and increased community engagement. We will focus on students to increase their knowledge of tools and techniques to develop personal skills specific to leadership, social skills, and self-esteem. As a result, youth with disabilities from Ethiopian Communities will be empowered to achieve their goals in the community and the workplace.

What are method of teachings?

The spread of the coronavirus has resulted in unprecedented changes in the way that the world functions and has set limitations on how we interact with each other. We realize these changes may be particularly challenging for individuals with a disability, especially children with intellectual disabilities. Tsinat Institute compiled autism-specific resources for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families as they navigate remote learning.

As we continue to navigate uncertainties due to the coronavirus, our top priorities are the health and safety of students and families. It is our hope we can help and support families as they develop new routines within their homes. Tsinat Institute plans to address restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak by alternatively providing virtual and personal meetings.  Our virtual materials include specific adaptations fitted with Ethiopians’ culture and can be used across ages and skills.

 When face-to-face contact is implemented, Tsinat Institute will follow all social distancing guidelines set forth by the state of Maryland and limit the number of participants as directed. We will implement the use of Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning guidance and provide the training in a safe environment for the trainees and the trainers.

Who work on the grant activities & how can we help?

The grant for this project is obtained from Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. The project will pilot specific interventions to reach out to support services for youth with disabilities. We also partnered with SupAbilities LLC to get training specialists and professional special needs teachers. We also use volunteers who are qualified to teach youth leadership, social skills, and personal development to youth with disabilities.

For the success of this training, we need financial and volunteer support. We are looking for volunteers who are qualified to teach youth leadership, social skills, and personal development to youth with disabilities. Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council covers part of the training expense. We ask groups and individuals to support with matching financial support for the cost of teaching materials. Volunteers run Tsinat Institute, and 100% of your donation goes to the training.