Working With Immigrants and Refugees: The Case of Abdel
Abdel is a 40-year-old male, who was resettled as refugee in a major city on the East Coast. Abdel has a bachelor’s degree in theology from his home country and is fluent in English and four other languages. He fled his home country after being imprisoned and tortured for his political activism against an oppressive governmental regime. Prior to his resettlement, he spent 12 years living in a refugee camp in an African nation. Abdel was defined as a refugee by a United Nations affiliate within 6 months of arriving in the camp. He then waited 10 years before receiving word that he would be resettled to the United States and another 1½ years before arrangements were finalized.
Abdel was unable to contact his wife before escaping prison and fleeing his country; he has not been able to contact her in over 12 years, and her current whereabouts are unknown. He has heard that she remarried and had children after presuming him to be one of the missing dead. Abdel struggles between wanting to find his wife and wanting her to have a happy life uncomplicated by his survival. His mother and father passed away while he was in the camp, and he has no other family. Abdel made many friends while living in the refugee camp, and the relative of one friend now rents him a room in the United States. His housing is in the suburbs and a half-day journey from the resettlement agency that provides him the majority of his services.
One month after arriving in the United States, Abdel saw a pamphlet regarding special services available for refugee survivors of war trauma in his resettlement case manager’s office and asked for more information. After learning that the war trauma program provided medical, psychological, and legal assistance, he sent an email with details of his trauma history to the program coordinator asking to participate in the program. Abdel reported that during his 6 years of imprisonment, he had been repeatedly beaten, deprived of food and water, and denied treatment for injuries and illnesses resulting from the assaults and unhygienic living conditions. Abdel experiences chronic back pain and has significant dental damage as a result of his torture history. He expressed concerns about his difficulty finding employment and worries about how he will pay for rent and basic needs when his 8 months of refugee cash and medical welfare benefits end. He requested assistance finding employment training programs, accessing information regarding college scholarships to further his education, and securing social supports to help him feel more connected to his new community.
Abdel appeared very discouraged when he began the program. I asked him to identify what he would like his life to look like in 10 years, and Abdel said his dream was to complete a second degree in theology, resume a role as a religious leader in his new community, have stable income through gainful employment, and live in safe and independent housing. Abdel viewed his anger as negatively affecting his life and thought his goals would be hindered if he did not learn to regulate his emotions. We worked together to identify his triggers, which appeared to stem from fears regarding money and feeling a loss of control over the direction of his life. Using the strengths-based approach, I encouraged Abdel to recognize his resilience and identify qualities he possessed that could be turned into coping skills to use when he began to feel angry, overwhelmed, or fearful.
As Abdel developed confidence in his ability to manage challenging situations, he began to participate in more independent activities. He found a church with services in his native language and began developing friendships within the congregation. Abdel was able to transition from using the agency as his primary support system to having community-based supports. I continued to aid Abdel in navigating the public benefits system and applying for jobs, and his church community helped him with finding housing and applying for scholarships. By the time his 8 months of refugee cash assistance ended, Abdel was employed at a retail store and was able to afford shared housing. At a service plan review 11 months after initially seeking assistance, Abdel determined that he had achieved most of the service plan goals and could achieve the remaining goals without additional program support.
For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Select either the course-specific case study for Abdel or Pedro. Then, consider what information you need to gather and what questions you need to ask in order to complete a proper assessment for the client, based on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice.
By Day 3
Post a brief explanation of the information you need to gather and the questions you need to ask, in order to complete a proper assessment for the client in the case study you selected, based on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice. Be sure to reference in your post which case study you selected.
Support your posts and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references