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Language access conference spotlights mental health services

May 21, 2017 Events

Mental health and medical professionals, first responders and language services providers gathered at the South County Library earlier this month to share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities that arise when providing mental health services to those with limited English proficiency.

Del. Sam Rasoul opened the Second Annual Language Access Conference with words of support for the efforts of the participants. He also introduced Diane Kelly, former executive director of Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley, and presented her with an award for her career-long dedication to promoting a community response to mental illness.

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo was one of many conference presenters who offered ideas and solutions. Kasongo discussed the role of technology, such as the VOLATIA Rover, which provides instant, on-demand video access to remote interpreters.

Conference sponsors included Roanoke Refugee Mental Health Council: Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley, New Horizons Healthcare, Family Service of Roanoke Valley, Roanoke County, Office of Newcomer Services VA Department of Social Services, and Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Photo by Alan Hale


Volatia CEO named RBTC Entrepreneur of the Year

April 25, 2017 Events

Talk to an entrepreneur in the United States, and you'll likely hear about his or her biggest failures. After all, failure comes with the territory.

But in entrepreneurial circles across Africa, failure has long been stigmatized and not discussed, according to an April article by Entrepreneur. This lack of communication causes detriment to individuals, businesses and communities.

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo talked to Entrepreneur about the difference in cultures:

"You'll find this common thread through any third world country,' says Baraka Kasongo, CEO of an on-demand translation company called Volatia, who's originally from Rwanda. "We're taught to not let anyone see you complaining, to have a positive outlook and be grateful."

According to the article, conversations among African entrepreneurs about their struggles are just beginning, teaching business owners that in failure is resilience.

Read the rest of the article.



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