Client Success Stories

Without CRIT’s help, many refugees and immigrants in Middle Tennessee would be more isolated and unable to meet their basic needs, let alone thrive. Many of our clients have flourished with our help. Here are just a few client success stories:

Mohamed is a Sudanese man who arrived in Nashville with his wife and two small children on diversity visas. Mohamed has a B.S. in Medical Technology and worked as a Medical Technologist in Sudanese hospitals and doctors’ offices before arriving in the United States. Mohamed first came to us in need of help acquiring health insurance for his two young children since their diversity visas rendered them ineligible for TennCare. We determined that the only way for Mohamed’s children to receive health insurance was through a job. In following, we helped Mohamed with his resume and job search skills and he found a job as a parking attendant with Central Parking. We continued to help him find a job in his field.  We placed Mohamed in a full-time job with benefits working in Vine Hill Clinic’s lab, where he collects blood and specimen samples, tests them, and sends some out for testing.  Mohamed has been promoted to Lab Manager. He is very grateful to CRIT for helping him find employment in his field, through which he and his family now have medical benefits. We welcome Danya, the newest member of the family!

"Mohamed is a highly valued employee of University Community Health Services. He came to us as fully trained in medical technology from the University of Sudan and is bilingual in English and Arabic. His presence in our clinics, where he works as the Lab Manager, has added such depth of understanding to our clinical work with immigrant families; Mo's gentle and perceptive approach to multicultural care is an extraordinary asset to our work in the Nashville community."

--Bonnie Pilon, Senior Faculty Member of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Program Director for the Health Systems Management specialty in the MSN program/United Community Health Services


Sahra* was a high school student who was having trouble in her math class. She did not pass a math proficiency test and her guidance counselor would not allow her to advance to the next level of math along with her classmates the following year. Instead, Sahra was told to sit in a computer room and practice on her own, with teachers occasionally coming in to answer any questions she had. Because Sahra did not have strong computer skills, she became frustrated at having to sit and learn by herself. Her mother tried to talk to the counselor but did not make any progress so she came to us for help. We talked to the counselor on Sahra’s behalf and the counselor said that if Sahra passed the test he would allow her to join her class. We tutored her intensively, both in our group tutoring sessions and at private sessions. We were delighted when Sahra showed up with a huge smile on her face saying that she had passed the test and had rejoined her class!


Khadra is a widow and a single mother of five children who arrived in the United States from Pakistan, where she fled with her children to escape the war in Somalia after her husband was killed. She first came to us to get her TennCare reinstated after she had been erroneously dropped from it and received a large hospital bill for emergency surgery that she had undergone. Working with TennCare Consumer Advocacy/Health Assist Tennessee, we were able to get Khadra’s TennCare reinstated. We then assisted her to move out of production work at a factory and into customer service work as a stocker at Wal-Mart, through which she now has private health insurance for her family. She is not only still working at Wal-Mart three and a half years later, but she has been promoted to Laundry Supervisor and is proud that there is a whole section of the store for which she is responsible. Because of her hard work, Khadra was able to purchase a house in Antioch, TN.  Khadra often says to her caseworker, “You do so much for me. Thank you, sister. You always help me so much.”


Omar* is a middle school student who was otherwise a good student but was missing 25 assignments and about to fail his math class. When his mother found out about the issue she came to us for help. We sat down with the math teacher, Omar’s guidance counselor, and his mother and helped broker an agreement whereby Omar could make up the assignments. We immediately enrolled Omar in our after-school tutoring program where we helped him complete his assignments. With our help Omar passed his math class and was able to move on to the next grade!


Abdirizak* was all set to get a job as a taxi driver but his application to replace his lost driver’s license was denied because the DMV said that his license had been presented at a traffic stop in Arizona and that the case was still open. Abdirizak had never even been to Arizona! He came to us for help with this issue. We contacted the Prosecutor on the case and got Abdirizak fingerprinted. Since the police fingerprint everyone stopped in the town, we were able to prove that Abdirizak was not the person cited in Arizona and was the victim of identity fraud. The charges were dropped against him and he was able to get his license and is now working as a taxi driver.


Jamaal had a company that wanted to hire him for a truck driver job, but he needed a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) on his Commercial Driver’s License. He applied for the HME and was initially denied because they thought he was not eligible as a result of his immigration status. He brought the denial letter to CRIT and our Program Manager read it and determined that his immigration status (an asylee) did not render him ineligible. We wrote him an appeal letter, stating the HME immigration requirement which listed an asylee as an eligible immigration status. Jamaal’s appeal was accepted and we are proud to say that with our help, he is now employed as a truck driver by Towne Air Freight.


Zamzam, a young Somali woman, arrived in the United States with her mobility-impaired mother. As a result of seeing the war-wounded arrive at local hospitals in Somalia, she has always dreamed of becoming a nurse. Upon her arrival in the U.S., Zamzam cared for her mother and worked two jobs in order to support herself and her mother, and to send remittances to family in Africa. She came to our center for assistance applying to nursing programs about a year after she arrived in the U.S.  Upon submitting her application, Zamzam was erroneously notified by the college that as a refugee she was ineligible to enroll in the program. She returned to our office and we worked with college administrators to get her application put back in the applicant pool. Zamzam was one of only a handful of people accepted into the program out of a total of over 200 applicants. And, she received a scholarship which covered full tuition, books and supplies, and included some money to cover her living expenses! Zamzam graduated from her Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program as valedictorian of her class and three months later passed the boards on her first try and received her LPN license. We then helped her get a job as an LPN in a long-term care facility. Zamzam recently said, “I am fortunate I came to the Center. Without their help, I wouldn’t have fulfilled my dream of becoming a nurse.”  Zamzam’s next goal is to become a Registered Nurse.


Josiane* first came to us as a scared, shy woman who did not make eye contact with people as a result of the abusive relationship she was in. She instantly bonded with our Program Manager. We sent a staff member with her to a hearing regarding her Order of Protection during which the order was extended. We also talked to her about steps to take to keep her and her children safe, and once she was in a shelter acted as a liaison between Josiane and the shelter staff. We also helped her stay in her apartment when the property manager was trying to kick her out. After we stabilized the situation for her and her children and improved her job search skills and confidence, she got her first job in the U.S. as a housekeeper. She is really proud to be earning a living and to be able to support her children. We are happy to say that Josiane is now more confident and able to look people in the eyes.


Zulekha had graduated from a Medical Assisting program and came to us for help finding her first job. Our Program Manager helped her locate job openings, apply for them, and helped her prepare for her first interview by holding a mock interview for her and giving her tips, such as to speak louder and be more confident. She got that first job and when later looking for a new job Zulekha got the first one she applied for! Zulekha says “Thanks to you, I know where to find job openings, what to say, and how to act at an interview. You taught me how to find a job on my own!”


Hared is a young Somali man who had a few jobs in the U.S. through temporary staffing agencies. We helped him get another temporary job as a driver at Advance Composite through Select Staffing/Antioch. Hared performed so well that within months he had been hired directly by the company as a permanent employee and received a big raise. Hared is happy that he now has a permanent job in which he can grow.


Megh is a Bhutanese man who arrived in the U.S. from Nepal, where he worked as a Nurse Prescriber for Lutheran World Service, Save the Children Fund and the Center for Victims of Torture and was responsible for providing medical care. Upon arrival in the U.S., Megh was unable to find a job. Working with a Parent Liaison at Metro Nashville Public Schools, we were able to find him a job at Tyson Foods that allowed him to pay bills for himself, his wife, and children, while we helped him search for a job in his field. After a few months, with the help of a Parent Liaison we secured Megh a Care Partner job at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Megh is very happy to be back in a healthcare setting doing what he loves and providing for his family!

Suado first came to CRIT in need of help with filling out an immigration form. While filling out the form, our Program Manager asked her whether she had ever thought of going to college since she had a high school diploma and spoke English well. She said that she had not thought about going to college and had to work to support herself. Our Program Manager encouraged her to consider higher education. To our pleasant surprise, nine months later, Suado returned to the office to fill out her financial aid application and enrolled in a Medical Assisting program. She received an Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting and is now working as a Medical Assistant. She says that if she hadn’t come to CRIT she would have never gone to college and would still be working in a factory.


Mariam is a Somali woman who came to the United States in 1999 with her husband and four children. Before her arrival in the U.S., Mariam received her medical degree in Rome, Italy and then returned to Somalia where she was a pediatrician.  Without a license to practice medicine in the U.S., Mariam had not worked since her arrival and she was getting desperate to find a job. In fact, she was so desperate that she considered returning home to Somalia even though it was unsafe. To help Mariam get back into the medical field, we created a resume for her, helped her find job opportunities and held mock interviews for her. With our help, Mariam is now working as a Medical Assistant at the Vine Hill Clinic. She is happy to be using her knowledge of medicine once again and is grateful that the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee helped her get a job which provides medical insurance to her family.

* This name has been changed to protect the identity of the client.


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