Promoting Hmong Refugees' Well-Being Through Mutual Learning: Valuing Knowledge, Culture, and Experience

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Abstract

Refugees who resettle in a new country face numerous struggles, including overcoming past traumas and coping with post-migration stressors, such as lack of meaningful social roles, poverty, discrimination, lack of environmental mastery, and social isolation. Thus, in addition to needing to learn concrete language skills and gain access to resources and employment, it is important for refugees to become a part of settings where their experiences, knowledge, and identity are valued and validated. The Refugee Well-Being Project (RWBP) was developed to promote the well-being of Hmong refugees by creating settings for mutual learning to occur between Hmong adults and undergraduate students. The RWBP had two major components: (1) Learning Circles, which involved cultural exchange and one-on-one learning opportunities, and (2) an advocacy component, which involved undergraduates advocating for and transferring advocacy skills to Hmong families to increase their access to resources in their communities. The project was evaluated using a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach. This article discusses data from qualitative interviews with participants, during which the importance of reciprocal helping relationships and mutual learning emerged as significant themes.

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