Title

Directions of Inquiry in the Study of Refugee Occupational Adjustment

Presenter Information

Yda Smith

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

Every year refugees, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, are resettled in host countries far from their homelands. They are fleeing war, threats to their lives, and persecution. Many of these people have suffered in ways beyond our comprehension and have witnessed atrocities we can only begin to imagine. At the start of 2002 there were 12 million refugees worldwide. Most refugees are resettled in urban areas in the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden. For the most part, these individuals will find themselves living in cultures and environments dramatically different from anything they have ever known. For example, over the next two years the United States expects to receive 12,000 Somali Bantu refugees, former slaves whose sense of time is based on the rise and fall of the sun, not a clock, and who have never used electricity or a flush toilet. Agencies are in place which generate valuable services for this population but personal needs go far beyond what these agencies are able to provide. Non-governmental agencies support refugees in the initial stages of resettlement providing them with housing, basic medical care, and teaching them such skills as how to get a job, use local currency, travel on public transportation and how to cook using locally available food. These efforts only scratch the surface of their needs. Little attention is given to the psychosocial impact of displacement and the impact that trauma can have on performance of occupational roles. How can we apply our skills to assist in the occupational adjustment of this population? What directions of inquiry should we pursue to better understand their issues? Theories regarding sense of place, transformation of "space" into "place", the role of place in constructing identity, meaning making, adaptation, loss of trust at personal and institutional levels, and refugeeness as a process of becoming can all be employed to help us be more sensitive to the broad array of issues facing this population. Participants will be encouraged to share their views regarding the relevance of theoretical contructs toward an effort to create services designed to facilitate occupational adaptation.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Directions of Inquiry in the Study of Refugee Occupational Adjustment

Every year refugees, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, are resettled in host countries far from their homelands. They are fleeing war, threats to their lives, and persecution. Many of these people have suffered in ways beyond our comprehension and have witnessed atrocities we can only begin to imagine. At the start of 2002 there were 12 million refugees worldwide. Most refugees are resettled in urban areas in the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden. For the most part, these individuals will find themselves living in cultures and environments dramatically different from anything they have ever known. For example, over the next two years the United States expects to receive 12,000 Somali Bantu refugees, former slaves whose sense of time is based on the rise and fall of the sun, not a clock, and who have never used electricity or a flush toilet. Agencies are in place which generate valuable services for this population but personal needs go far beyond what these agencies are able to provide. Non-governmental agencies support refugees in the initial stages of resettlement providing them with housing, basic medical care, and teaching them such skills as how to get a job, use local currency, travel on public transportation and how to cook using locally available food. These efforts only scratch the surface of their needs. Little attention is given to the psychosocial impact of displacement and the impact that trauma can have on performance of occupational roles. How can we apply our skills to assist in the occupational adjustment of this population? What directions of inquiry should we pursue to better understand their issues? Theories regarding sense of place, transformation of "space" into "place", the role of place in constructing identity, meaning making, adaptation, loss of trust at personal and institutional levels, and refugeeness as a process of becoming can all be employed to help us be more sensitive to the broad array of issues facing this population. Participants will be encouraged to share their views regarding the relevance of theoretical contructs toward an effort to create services designed to facilitate occupational adaptation.