Amel Lebatt is from Nouakchott, Mauritania and has focused her MDP work on the global refugee crisis. For her summer field practicum, she worked in the US with a resettlement program and in particular with refugees who had suffered from torture. Amel’s work consisted in helping refugees adjust culturally and, in the longer-term, to reach self-sufficiency. Her particular focus is on how mental health affects the pace at which refugees reach self-sufficiency.
Amel’s experiences in different countries have allowed her to have a better understanding of diverse cultures. Coming from Mauritania, she was able to relate to different traditions that varied from Africa, the Middle East, and also South America. Her language skills allowed her to bridge the gap between caseworkers and refugee clients. In addition, her knowledge and awareness about the different conflicts and political climate in other countries were helpful in addressing the needs and concerns of the clients.
Amel's focus on refugees is a new way for her of viewing development. Recently the refugee crisis has been one of the main subject in the world, with refugee flows caused by armed conflicts but also because of poverty, lack of opportunity, and natural disasters. Beyond her direct contact with refugees, she is planning on giving more in-depth attention to the crisis as a whole.
“My interest in refugee issues is still new, but after working directly with them it grew rapidly. I believe in their resilience and their willingness to rebuild a life in a total different context. Adjusting culturally is a challenge, as is navigating different complex systems. With the anti-refugee climate that has been growing recently, I am more than ever committed to serve this cause.