Refugees struggling in down economy

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Many refugees are struggling right now, desperate to find jobs, pay for rent and buy food for their children. It's a challenge the Utah Refugee Services office is taking on. Today, they met with Iraqi families.

Dr. Abdulkarim Hasan from Baghdad is a veterinarian who's been here for 7 months. With five children, he's struggling to pay rent and recently got a notice his gas would be shut off. He says he doesn't want anyone's money, just the ability to make money by finding work.

"I need to work because if I don't work, I suffer from blood pressure because I think too much," he said.

Dr. Hasan's daughter says the family had to come here after nearly being kidnapped.

"They tried to kidnap us, and Dad said, ‘We can't live in this situation.' Because we couldn't go to school. If we went to school, they would catch you and take you and ask your dad for a million dollars. How can you get this money?" Islam Abed said.

A straight-A student, Islam dreams of becoming a surgeon but is not sure how her family will pay for college.

Utah Refugee Services is now in the process of setting up workshops and meetings with large organizations that may be able to offer jobs. They're also looking for volunteers to help. They're looking for volunteers to help. You can contact the office by calling 802-526-9787 or sending an e-mail to


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Sarah Dallof


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