DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Refugee says welcome your new neighbor without demanding the backstory

Sep 9, 2021, 7:03 PM
first afghan refugee arrives at utah airport...
Case manager Abakar, left, with Azim, the first Afghan refugee to arrive in Utah, at Salt Lake City International Airport. Photo: Catholic Community Services of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — You are a refugee and are new to the United States. Yesterday you just came here from a war-torn country and you have no family, no friends, no insurance, etc. How do you get the help you need? A refugee and social worker in Utah gives her advice for getting to know your new refugee neighbor.

Fallout of 20-year war

More than 7 out of 10 Americans support resettling Afghans who worked with the U.S. government or military, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll

Between 2001 and July 2021, the United States admitted nearly 21,000 Afghan refugees.

President Joe Biden said the United States would evacuate 50,000 to 65,000 Afghan allies before an Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. withdrawal, according to Reuters.

Fear of the unknown

As many as 1 in 3 refugees experience high rates of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Institute.

What are Afghan refugees who have recently fled their country dealing with, beyond the headlines we have all seen?

“Many refugees haven’t traveled away from their own home country or been on a plane, which can be a fear in itself,” said Yasaman Keshavar, who was a refugee and is now a Social Worker with Huntsman Mental Health.

She joins the KSL NewsRadio to talk about the mental stress refugees go through.

First, they have to leave family behind.

Language is one of the biggest barriers that refugees struggle with. They don’t know English; the older refugees can’t learn how to speak it in public schools, Keshavar said.

Find help for a refugee here: The International Catholic Migration Commission.

Don’t ask a refugee to explain why they are here, please?

In hindsight, what are some of the things you wish Utahns would have done for you when you arrived as a refugee? Also, what are the best ways to reach out and help a refugee?

Keshavar said her experience resettling in Utah was positive. Everyone around her made her feel welcome and accepted in her new country. But, she added, not all refugees experience that and many feel judged.

She said asking a refugee why they are here in this state or country traumatizes them. They have to retell their stories over and over — sometimes on a daily basis.

“I would encourage everyone to be open-minded and just go and try to get to know them without having any sort of assumptions or judgments, and wanting to just hear their stories as much as that refugee is willing to share,” Keshavar said.

She recommended looking on the experience as an exciting challenge and opportunity to know other cultures, languages and different foods — and make a friend, too.

 

Dave & Dujanovic

emergency kits are a vital part of preparedness for families...
Curt Gresseth

How families should prepare for an emergency at home or away

Do you have an emergency reunification plan ready for your loved ones? Two experts share tips on what to do when disaster strikes while at home or away.
1 month ago
Cherie Wood...
Curt Gresseth

South Salt Lake mayor defends new $130,000 salary

The mayor of South Salt Lake defended her latest salary of $130,000 by saying she hasn't received a pay raise in 11 years in office.
1 month ago
South Salt Lake at Southern X-posure, the site of a deadly shooting....
Curt Gresseth

South Salt Lake resident wants to stop mayor and City Council from awarding themselves raises

A South Salt Lake resident has taken his ballot initiative on pay raises for city leaders to the Utah Supreme Court after being rebuffed by the city attorney on what he said was a technicality.
1 month ago
Connerjack Oswalt was found in Park City, Utah after being missing from California years ago. (CNN)...
Curt Gresseth

Missing three years, autistic teen found in Park City

An autistic teen missing from northern California since 2019 was found by sheriff's deputies in Summit County, Utah. He has since been reunited with his stepfather.
1 month ago
Debbie busts inflation by buying consigned clothes....
Debbie Dujanovic

Dujanovic: Battling inflation like it’s 1981

Inflation has Debbie Dujanovic budgeting like it's 1981. She has tips on how to battle inflation and save your wallet some tears.
1 month ago
design...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah wants your help redesigning the state flag by April 30

MILLCREEK, Utah — Utah residents have until April 30 to submit their ideas for a redesign of the Utah state flag.  According to a press release from the Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement, Gov. Spencer J. Cox launched the “More than a Flag” effort in January. The effort is part of a statewide […]
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Refugee says welcome your new neighbor without demanding the backstory