GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Some members of the Garden City community continue to reach out to the refugee population, and this weekend, there is now a new clinic to specifically treat local refugees.
“Sometimes there are barriers that prevent a refugee individual from really getting the healthcare that they need,” said John Birky, the physician who is now the CEO of the nonprofit clinic New Hope Together.
The clinic is in an unusual spot. It’s actually set up in an apartment, close to where many refugees live.
It’s an effort to make it easier to access health care.
Physicians are volunteering their time, saying they are sensitive to refugees’ cultural differences that may make it difficult for those of a different background to get the care they need.
“A lot of people don’t know how insurance works,” said Gareth Bridge, one of the clinic’s physicians. “They don’t know why we do preventative medicine. These are foreign concepts in many countries.”
Another major component is English literacy. The clinic is looking for strong English speakers to help refugees learn the language while building cross-cultural friendships along the way.
“We’ll pair them up and our language mentors will take our language students through a curriculum over the course of about nine months to help them learn basic and conversational English skills,” said Amy Bridge, the clinic’s Literacy Program Director.
Ifrah Ahmed is excited to use her English skills to help both the clinic and her fellow refugees as a language mentor.
“My people need help,” she said, “all the help that we can get. If there is a way that I can do anything to help, by all means, I want to help.”
She says the clinic is symbolic of the strengthened relationship between refugees and the rest of Garden City, a turning point marked by a bomb plot last October that police say targeted refugees, before the plot was uncovered and stopped by authorities.
“Instead of taking us apart and making people flee from Garden City,” she said, “it made us more united. It made us stronger, and it made us more family now.”