“I Didn’t Want to be a Burden”: Improving Interactions between Refugees and Nonprofit Service Providers

Brittany Keegan


As newly resettled refugees integrate into their new communities they often receive services from nonprofit organizations to supplement government assistance. However, there has been little research regarding how nonprofit service providers and refugees interact with one another and perceive these interactions. This qualitative study uses data gathered from 60 first-person, open-ended interviews with refugees and nonprofit service providers to fill this gap. The research questions are: How do refugees being served by nonprofits express their perceptions of the services they receive to nonprofit service providers? To what extent do refugees feel that nonprofit service providers are responsive to their needs? And, how do nonprofit staff and volunteers report responding to the needs of their refugee clients? This article is framed using empowerment theory, where refugee needs and perspectives are at the forefront of service provision decisions


Refugees; Refugee Resettlement; Immigrant Integration; Nonprofits

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.20899/jpna.6.2.209-232


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