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​Kua'ana is the Hawaiian term for older sibling. In the 'ohana (family) structure,  kua'ana take responsibility of caring for the kaina (younger sibling) and guide them as they pursue their goals.  Through the Kua’ana Project, peers of the transgender community kōkua (assist) other transpersons using their own personal experiences. Whether it be to search for jobs, legally change their names, or access stable housing, our Kua’ana Project staff are able to support and encourage kaina with compassion and understanding. 


To learn more about our services, please call (808) 521-2437 or email


Watch, observe. Help others and accept help. That is the family way.

Maddalynn “Maddie Ashton” Sesepasara has been a part of the HHHRC family since 2001 when, as part of Life Foundation, she participated in Hawaii’s ‘Aha UTOPIA for five years. Maddie, a transgender woman of Samoan and Chinese descent, joined Life Foundation in 2003 as an HIV Health Educator and Outreach Worker. She rejoined the ranks of Life Foundation in 2012 after a time at Kulia Na Mamo, assuming her former position with a new gusto for the community. Maddie has helped to coordinate several HIV awareness campaigns since her initial involvement with UTOPIA Hawaii, and has emerged as a prominent voice in the community. Throughout the years, Maddie has dedicated her work to HIV awareness and reducing the stigma of HIV in her community.


Shalani Placencia

Kua‘ana Project Peer Navigator


Sina Sison

Kua‘ana Project Peer Navigator


Maddison Moliga

Kua‘ana Project Peer Navigator

  • About the Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center
    A one-hour presentation for community groups and partner organizations that covers the misison of HHHRC and the services we offer. This presentation is free and can be tailored to your organizational needs and interests.
  • Harm Reduction 101
    Harm Reduction is a philosophy and set of strategies for working with those engaged in potentially harmful behaviors. This interactive session will explore the tenants of Harm Reduction, provide insight and practice into the theories of Harm Reduction and provide resources to services working in the spirit of Harm Reduction. Training length: 8 hours
  • HIV, Hepatitis C, & STD 101"
    This full day training provides participants with an overview of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other common sexually transmitted diseases. Participants learn to identify the signs, symptoms, transmission methods, and risk factors for these diseases. Participants then learn how to integrate harm reduction methods, motivational interviewing, and sexual health counseling into substance use treatment and counseling. Participants also learn about the medical and social service resources available to people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, or those at risk for an STD. This class is highly interactive and provides participants of all learning styles an opportunity to engage with the material. Training length: 8 hours
  • LGB Cultural Competency
    HHHRC offers LGB Cultural Competency training designed to increase knowledge and skills to effectively interact with LGB people, as well as support and provide affirming care. This training also integrates the unique viewpoints of local and Hawaiian Cultures. As the largest LGB&T organization in the pacific, our agency can offer the most comprehensive and competent training when it comes to sensitive topics regarding sexuality.
  • Mental Health First Aid
    Mental Health First Aid is a 1-day course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Mental Health First Aid is for anyone, but especially people in roles where they interact with the public, or where mental health challenges are more frequent.
  • Motivational Interviewing
    Motivational interviewing, a treatment approach developed by William Miller, has been well established as an effective way to promote behavior change in individuals. Following a brief review of the fundamental MI principles and micro-skills, this experiential Introduction to MI skill development training will focus on helping clients/patients to engage in change talk, and then make commitments to make behavioral changes based on goals that they have identified. Ample time will be devoted to real play and group practice sessions to enable training workshop participants to gain the skills necessary to elicit change talk from clients/patients with low levels of readiness for change, thereby increasing levels of motivation and moving them toward action to address their substance use issues. Training length: 8 hours
  • Opioids & Overdose: Prevention & Response
    Overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Hawaii and around the U.S. This interactive session will explore the impact of opioids on the body and identify the risks for accidental opioid overdose. Participants will be certified to administer Naloxone, the opioid antagonist. 4 hours ADAD approved CEUs. Training length: 4 hours (1 hour presentation also available)
  • Transgender Cultural Humility
    This training focuses on the importance of respect and dignity when interacting with people of trans experience. Utilizing the unique viewpoints of our Hawaiian and local cultures, we aim to increase humility and capacity for understanding when it comes to one of our most vulnerable populations. This training is perfect for service providers, frontline customer service workers, management, or anyone wishing to better understand people of trans experience and provide appropriate, affirming services or care.

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Please join us in sending aloha and support to our Maui `ohana.  Consider a donation to Hawai'i Community Foundation's Maui Strong fund 

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