by Erin Jones | CBS 11
Dallas (CBSDFW.COM) A nonprofit community health center in Dallas in preparation for welcoming Afghan refugees.
They will get help with their physical and emotional needs from someone they can relate to.
With thousands of Afghan refugees arriving in America, Mio Shet Ai says to some extent, he knows what they’re doing though.
“When I came here it was very difficult for me,” he said. “It’s the same when they come in as newcomers. It’s very difficult.”
Aye fled his native Burma in 2003 as a religious refugee.
“They destroyed the church and they destroyed all of our religion,” he said. “We cannot worship freely. We can’t do anything freely.”
His trip took him to Malaysia, where he received assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, before eventually arriving in the United States in 2010.
Here he was able to learn five new languages and now works as a translator at Helping Hands Ministry Health.
He is preparing to assist the Afghan refugees who will arrive in the Vicky Meadows neighborhood in Dallas.
“They won’t get here overnight, but they will be here soon,” said HHM Health President and CEO Brian A. Hawkins. “7% of American refugees are here in Vickrey Meadows and we care for a large portion of them here at HHM Health.”
It is here where Afghan refugees will have access to all kinds of healthcare including family medicine, women’s health, dental and behavioral health and where they can meet counsellors.
“There will be a lot of trauma,” said Dr. Michael Lyons, chief medical officer of HHM Health. “There will be a lot of PTSD. Being able to have someone who can translate and make them feel at home is absolutely essential. To be able to come here, we can really take care of them, we can speak the language, and really care about their needs.”
“When the refugees came here, they brought their culture and that’s why here,” Ai said. “We have to know. What I learned from my experience, I teach them again.”
Integrating into a new community is always difficult, Aye said, but he hopes he can make the transition easier.
“I am very happy to help every one,” he said.