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

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