Clara Benitez

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

Syrian refugees receive mentorship through new nonprofit program

SCOTTSDALE–A new non-profit organization is helping Syrian refugee families adapt through mentorship, connecting young Syrian refugees with successful individuals.

SHEFA, which stands for Strength, Hope, and Empowerment Foundation of America, launched its first event this month with a visit from Miss Arab USA Fabiola Al-Ibrahim.

“I feel at home being here, I know we are in the United States of America, but I feel like I am back in Syria,” Al-Ibrahim said.

The Syrian children shared their personal stories about their journey coming to the United States.

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Fatimah Halwah, 13, said she enjoyed meeting Miss Arab, and also appreciated seeing all the Syrian families together.

Lena Arkawi, communications director for SHEFA, said her family started the started the nonprofit after getting a tremendous response from a Holiday Drive put on last December.

The Arkawis are a Syrian American Family, both parents migrating from Damascus, Syria in 1969. Their children are both American Citizens and one son served in the military. They say they are happy to help the Syrian Refugee Community here in Arizona and hope to expand their mentorship program to other communities in need.

“This is what America is about, a fusion of cultures and it think it is a great opportunity to welcome Syrian refugees and learn from them and they can learn from us as Americans,” Lena Arkawi said.

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