Translating COVID-19 impacts for refugees

In Luxembourg, Shabnam Sabzehi is helping refugees understand rules and processes.

May 13, 2020

In Europe, charities and international agencies working with refugees need to make sure everyone understands the impact of COVID-19 on the asylum process, as well as explaining the health implications and what’s happening in the wider community.

Based in Luxembourg, Shabnam Sabzehi, who is fluent in Farsi, is helping translate for those who don’t speak English or French. A registered volunteer interpreter, she is a crucial go-between for Iranians and Afghans and the different organizations providing housing and supporting with integration.

“I believe helping the refugees feel well informed during such uncertain times in totally new environment, which without COVID already is stressful enough, is incredibly valuable,” she says.

Shabnam speaks with refugees on the phone or messaging apps to translate health topics, processes, rules and regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is on top of her work as a communications manager for JLL’s PDS and Tétris operations, a job which she’s currently doing from home.

“The need for translation is essential. Supporting the authorities on getting important messages across in a timely manner helps to keep the community safe and brings an element of hope for many people at what is a very difficult time,” she says.

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