TAIBU celebrates ‘decade of excellence’


By Lincoln DePradine

Liben Gebremikael

When TAIBU Community Health Centre was established 10 years ago, Liben Gebremikael was appointed executive director of the organization. He’s proud of the achievements of TAIBU, a multidisciplinary, not-for-profit, community-led organization headquartered in the Malvern neighbourhood of Scarborough.

“The mandate of the organization is to improve the health and wellbeing of the Black community across the GTA, whether it’s children and families, whether it’s youth, whether it’s adults and whether it’s seniors,’’ Gebremikael told the Caribbean Camera on the eve of TAIBU’s “Decade of Excellence’’ commemorative gala on Saturday, June 30.

TAIBU is a Kiswahili word used by well-wishers as a greeting that means, “Be in Good Health”.

The Malvern-based organization employs close to 50 full and part-time staff, including doctors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, chiropodists, chiropractors.

More than 8,000 people are registered clients of TAIBU. They access the organization’s primary care clinic services, as well as community and health promotion programs.

TAIBU also offers other programs aimed at helping people with diabetes, sickle cell, mental health, and in providing support to black students in the school system.

“We have very successful and well-attended programs and services including life-modification programs such as the Black Men’s Health Challenge,’’ added Gebremikael. “It’s an education and a physical activity program that we are delivering in about six locations in the city.’’

UBUNTU, another of the programs, engages senior citizens living in Scarborough, Gebremikael revealed.

“Right now, over 250 seniors are actively engaged in activities such as a writing club, nutrition and cooking group and computer literacy,’’ he said.

One of the highlights of TAIBU’s decade of operations is the “very strong, trusting relationship with the community that we serve,’’ said Ethiopian-born Gebremikael, who holds several post-graduate certificates including a Master’s in  healthcare management from York University.

“We have very engaged members of the community that hold this space and this organization as their space and their organization. They feel empowered to suggest recommendations or changes to programs and services that they need,’’ he said.

Saturday’s TAIBU 10th anniversary gala is 6 p.m. at The Brighton Convention & Event Centre, 2155 McNicoll Avenue in Scarborough. Tickets are available by calling 416-644-3536.

“The program is predominantly to celebrate as an organization; to acknowledge and recognize people who have been involved from the very beginning of the organization,’’ said Gebremikael.

“So we will be recognizing the founding members, past board members, current board members, staff, volunteers and community members who have taken this journey with us for the past 10 years. We will present them with tokens of appreciation; something that will remind them of their association with TAIBU and their time with TAIBU.’’