Published on February 19, 2018
Originally from Libya, Mabruka Elmeshia moved to the United States with her husband, a United States citizen, and her young children. She left behind a career in human resources and a well-known Libyan business she owned.
Because of the current travel ban, Mabruka is unable to return home to visit her family and her family is likewise unable to visit her here in the United States.
Settled into her new home and life here in New Orleans, Mabruka now works as a case manager for Catholic Charities’ Refugee Services program. Driven by her own experiences in a country in the midst of an armed conflict, she’s able to empathize with the clients she serves and help them through difficult transitions.
“I can relate to the feeling of leaving everything behind and traveling to a new country with a different culture,” she says of her work with refugees.
Mabruka, speaking of her own experience and those of the refugees she serves, says it’s important to remember that before coming to the United States, refugees were hard working citizens contributing to the communities from which they came.
When they land in the U.S., they want to contribute to their new country in the same way. Unfortunately, barriers – cultural, language and otherwise – make this easier said than done. “From what I have seen and experienced, they continue to work towards that goal of being a productive person in society and not a liability here in their new home,” she says of her clients.
According to Mabruka, the thing most refugees ask about as soon as they arrive is how they can get a job and when they can start working.
Mabruka works with each to bridge the language, cultural and any other gaps necessary to help them find a job and become contributing members of their new communities. She helps them find a place to live, apply for benefits, enroll their children in school and so much more.
Of her work with Catholic Charities and the Refugee Services program, Mabruka shares, “It’s a great place to work because we all know that we are working towards helping different people that bring new ideas to their new country become a part of society.”