The Micronesia region faces many challenges such as U.S. militarization and weapons testing, loss of land from rising ocean levels, and lack of a sustainable local food supply. An estimated 15,000 to 17,000 people have left their homes in search of a better life for themselves and their families here in Hawai‘i.
Through an initial pilot grant awarded by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, Partners in Development Foundation serves as the mentor organization for WAO. WAO was created by a core group of Micronesian leaders and stakeholders in Hawai‘i whose aim is to advocate for the overall health and wellbeing of Micronesian people and communities.
The name “We Are Oceania” is rooted in the history of the indigenous people who navigated the vast North Pacific — today known as Micronesia. It honors the role of the ocean in binding these islands together rather than separating them; it provides abundant resources instead of depriving us of them.
WAO operates out of a one-stop shop at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Kalihi. While their offices are on Oʻahu, their services are available throughout the Neighbor Islands through their Kōkua Staff on call.
For more information on We Are Oceania, visit their main website at weareoceania.org or call (808) 754-7303.
BHHSURG: Provider Hero— Open Arms Harbor Iso/Qar Hotels Case Managers featured in this issue.
In addition to their one-stop shop that offers food, health, housing, employment assistance and more, WAO Provides Covid-relief resources like a live helpline to Micronesian and Pacific Islander Communities.
The 4th annual Micronesian Youth Summit hosted hundreds of middle and high school students and featured workshops to support their future success.