Bosnian Refugees Of America

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Bosnian Refugees of America

Bosnian Refugees of America


Refugees from the brutal war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Former Yugoslavia first came to California in 1993 after surviving brutal physical and emotional trauma.

Their homes, friends and family members were lost, speaking little or no English, and driven from a land they loved, they came to build new lives and faced a host of challenges. The first wave of refugees had little or no time to prepare for living in a vastly different land, to take English classes or to plan for their livelihood once reaching the United States.

For the first few months in San Francisco County, California, Bosnian refugees are assisted with many aspects of their resettlement by a variety of public and private agencies. These agencies work closely with newly arriving refugees, guiding them through the initial tasks of building a new life: finding housing, learning English, enrolling children in schools, looking for work, training for future jobs and accessing health care services and public benefits. The goals of this assessment are as under:

1. To document the demographic characteristics of the refugees who came to San Francisco, including information on common health issues, resettlement resources and challenges, employment and education, and overall well-being.

2. To commence a process of enhancing community capacity so that Bosnian refugees in San Francisco has more resources available to help them.

3. To seek out information in order to guide us in determining future directions and associations for Newcomers Health Program. (Bihi, 1999)

The primary reasons of the refugee's stress are the loss of community and social isolation, separation from family members, a lack of environmental mastery, the loss of important life projects, poverty and related stressors such as the loss of valued social roles, and inadequate housing.

Children who have become the part of this massive migration create challenges for schools and communities to overcome their insecurities. Teachers and school support staff, has adequate resources, should struggle to meet these students' educational, social, and emotional needs.

This research demonstrates that despite the tragedy that many of these students have suffered, educators can do much to help them improve their lives. The behaviors which have developed most of the troubles for the Bosnian refugee students are that they are not familiar with the new culture of the schools and the country.

Interpretation of the Results

The lives of Bosnian refugees have changed to a large extent since 1992, and those changes were almost beyond the control of the common man. Many people had died and others were killed, mostly men and children, because they lived in a city like Srebrenica, where thousands of men were shot to death. (Hein, 1993) The historical context of the refugee experience includes life before the war, and events during the war itself, and progress through the displacement and resettlement. (Dimeo, 1996)

This action research project focused on the lives and experiences of a sample of 6 to 10 Bosnian families living in ...
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