Maryam Hajwal desires to work with minority populations. After graduation, her immediate goal is to work 1-2 years in the U.S. Long-term she aspires to use her knowledge and skills to improve health in her home country of Saudi Arabia. Maryam’s MPH Practicum experience with Partner for Refugees Empowerment (PRE) inspired her to explore new approaches for refugee empowerment. Partner for Refugees Empowerment, a non-profit organization serving refugee populations, has a mission to help refugees overcome deep-rooted issues associated with relocation trauma and cultural adjustment. Social services are an important aspect that supports refugees in their lives in the U.S.
Maryam’s main project entailed developing a social services booklet to guide them on availability and access to social services. To inform the booklet, Maryam conducted focus group interviews to assess the needs of the clients and educational sessions with the women’s groups. The clients reported their main concern is access to health care. The main barriers she found to access healthcare for refugees included language, transportation, and lack of health insurance. The booklet will guide future volunteers in assisting refugees in applying for these vital social services. The long-term goal of her project is to help empower refugees to be self-sufficient in finding their path as successful, contributing members in the community. The next step is translating the booklet to a variety of refugees’ languages.