A refugee mother hugs her child/DepositPhoto

Welcoming Refugees in Spokane Makes a Difference

Guest Column by Kawkab Shishani

Did we not relieve your heart for you, and removed the burden that weighed heavily on your back, and raised you reputation. Truly with hardship comes ease. Truly with hardship comes ease. So the moment you are freed from tasks turn to devotion, and turn to God for for hope. 

– “The Relief,” Al-Quran Sura

Refugees are loaded with heavy burdens on their backs. They are constantly thinking about getting home safely to their families. At night, their children fall asleep to the sound of bombs.

So it makes sense, and it is understandable, when refugees flee these intolerable living conditions. 

When refugees arrive at their new home they start learning, from ground zero, a new language, how to navigate the health care system and school system while also making efforts to pay back and be contributing citizens. 

It is a tough journey when a person starts, as an adult, to rebuild and establish themselves in a new and  unfamiliar environment. Everyday is like riding a roller coaster. 

While working on adapting refugees have to deal with something that is unexpected and not part of humanity: Some unwelcoming locals dehumanize them.

So what happens? 

Fear haunts them and again they lose sense of security. The burden that was suppressed from the past comes to surface and the impact is heavier because it accumulates. So they feel powerless, vulnerable, and as a result become voiceless. 

The relief Sura cited above says with burden comes ease. So how do we ease their hardship and give them back the sense of security? 

There are passionate individuals here in Spokane with big hearts who continue working tirelessly and are dedicated to stand with those vulnerable families and be their voices. Those passionate human beings  bring ease to refugees who carry loads of burden on their backs. 

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About Kawkab Shishani

Kawkab Shishani earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from University of Jordan, Jordan; a Master of Science degree from Villanova University; and a PhD from University of Pittsburgh. She served as an associate professor at the Hashemite University in Jordan. Currently, she is associate professor of public health nursing at Washington State University. Kawkab was born and raised in Jordan and her roots are from Chechnya. Her self-identity is enriched with all unique components of being Chechen, Muslim woman, Jordanian and American. The diversity in her background made who she is: an empathetic and passionate human being.

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