November 20, 2019
In this month's feature, read how one exceptional woman rebuilt her life here in the United States, found the mental healthcare she needed, and overcame the odds stacked against her. Then, at the end of the article, please enjoy the poem, "A Lonely Girl," written by this remarkable person in both English and her native language of Urdu.
Thanks to partners like you, World Relief is able to provide needed counseling for refugees and other immigrants struggling to find help for the mental and emotional trauma that they have experienced.
Nazish is a poet both in words and action—gentle, calm, contemplative, deliberate. English is her second language, but she wields metaphor and turns phrases with charming purpose—an astonishing thing to witness considering she will occasionally pause mid-sentence to find the correct vocabulary. It’s like her heart knows the rhythm of what she wants to say long before her mind can find the words, and her soul is patient enough to make it work.
When Nazish enters the room and meets me for the first time, she smiles warmly, but I can see that behind her smile is uncertainty. I’ve been told she’s a bit nervous to sit down and conduct the interview, but I’ve also been told she’s eager to share her story. According to those that know Nazish, she has decided that she will no longer let fear prevent her from being a positive example for all the refugee women silently suffering from the untreated effects of mental illness. Before her own treatment, the fear she now conquers on a daily basis would most certainly have kept her at home rather than here now, sitting across from me, a stranger, to whom she will soon divulge details of a deeply personal persuasion about an often stigmatized condition for which many parts of the world, including her country of origin, still want her to feel shame.
So, in many ways, Nazish is also a warrior.
October 15, 2019
In honor of Veterans' Day next month, we're proud to share this first-hand account of one refugee's escape from an Iranian prison and his quest to fight for the freedom of others as a member of the United States military.
The Iranian interrogator held up a ballpoint pen and warned me of its power.
“Can you see the small metal ball on the head of this pen?" he asked. "I can break your neck with this small metal ball. I only have to write two paragraphs and you'll be gone forever.”
After forty-six days of interrogation and torture, I knew that he wasn't lying. He could do whatever he wanted to me. There were no laws stopping him. He put his pen to paper and within a few hours, I found myself in Evin Prison, the scariest prison in the world.
But I was happy.
September 25, 2019
The crisis in Venezuela was born during the presidency of Hugo Chávez, but it did not end with his reign. More than six years after Chávez’s death, the situation in Venezuela is worse than ever, and the economic fallout is considered by many to be more severe than that of the United States during the Great Depression, or that of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Marked by hyperinflation, escalating starvation, disease, crime, political persecution, and rising mortality rates, there appears to be no immediate solution in sight, and this has resulted in massive emigration from the country.
Isabella Martinez was one of the many that fled Venezuela while the country continued to unravel.
“After Chávez died,” she explains, “the political situation got even worse. Things started to go bad for anyone who didn’t support the ruling party.”