Formerly called BEBASHI (Blacks Education Blacks About Sexual Health Issues), Bebashi Transition to Hope was founded in 1985 as the first full-service HIV/AIDS organization that caters primarily to people of color in Philadelphia. Bebashi aims to address the AIDS crisis among disadvantaged populations in their community by providing resources for sexual health education, HIV prevention, hunger relief, and other needed social services.
Dr. Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer, the founder of Bebashi, was struck by how undermined the black community was amid the growing AIDS crisis. “There was very little acknowledgment nationally or locally about the impact that HIV was having on our community,” says Abdul-Khabeer. Drawing from her experience as an activist in The Civil Rights Movement, Abdul-Khabeer believed that more needed to be done, which culminated in the foundation of Bebashi. In the words of Philadelphia Senator Vincent Hughes, “Bebashi was the first in the nation to walk into a space that everyone else walked away from.”
Bebashi serves approximately 21,000 individuals annually and provides a comprehensive array of services that empower low-income individuals to improve their health and overall well-being. Gary Bell, the Executive Director of Bebashi, believes that his organization is uniquely poised to spread culturally sensitive, health-related information in his community. “I think that’s what separates us,” says Bell, “because aside from the mission itself, there’s a cultural competence that we have that could reach folks with a message they will listen to and understand.”
A More Modern Campaign
Led by Brenda Alexander, Bebashi’s Communications Specialist, Bebashi took hold of its own marketing campaign. Alexander felt that Bebashi needed to implement a more modern approach to their marketing, so she employed the services of Say It With A Condom. While Bebashi has provided condoms to their community for decades, with Say It With A Condom, they will now be able to provoke a conversation about their initiatives while doing so.
The Custom Trifold Condoms, designed by Tiffany Mercer-Robbins (CEO of The Mercer Suite), combine a compelling message with eye-catching artwork that provides Bebashi with the tool they were looking for.
“People come into our offices every single day for condoms,” Brenda exclaims, “And the power of the Trifold, I think, is that it is more than just a condom; it is a weapon of education and information that will hopefully grab people’s attention.
Bebashi – Transition to Hope
Since being founded in 1985, Bebashi has expanded its community-based initiatives with a broad array of projects. In 2014, Bebashi founded the Resource Navigation program, which helps low-income individuals achieve self-sufficiency. In 2015, Bebashi launched an initiative to pay for state photo ID cards for those in poverty. In 2017, Bebashi initiated Trans Necessities, a resource where transexual individuals can obtain clothing, wigs, prosthetic breasts, binders and many other necessities.
Bebashi also boasts a committed body of volunteers who serve to make their organization more visible. “We are in the community. We like to be in the community. We don’t like to sit behind the desk,” says Antonio Adolphus, Bebashi’s Assistant Supervisor of Prevention Education, “I always like to talk about my coworkers, they’re always out there in the streets. We go to churches, we go to schools, we talk to the kids, we talks to the seniors. This is what makes Bebashi special.”
For more information about Bebashi, please visit their website at www.bebashi.org