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Three social work majors presented at Building Bridges, Making Friends

Three social work students participated in Building Bridges, Making Friends, a series of two panels held at Boise State University that spotlighted Boise State students from refugee or immigrant backgrounds. In each of the panels, one student facilitated three or four featured students. The featured students shared their stories and answered questions from those who attended. The event was said to be powerful and moving as the panelists spoke with eloquence and ardor. Let’s get to know those who spoke and a little bit more about their individual journeys.

Sadia Abdulkadir

Sadia Abdulkadir
Sadia Abdulkadir, a social work major and a refugee from the country of Kenya. Abdulkadir came to the U.S. at the young age of five in a family of 10. She spoke about her desire and inclination to work hard for her future, knowing that her parents sacrificed so much to give Abdulkadir and her siblings better opportunities for their future.
Abdulkadir expressed gratitude and passion towards her journey. She shared her hopes of making a positive impression on future generations, stating “so here I am now, in college, studying to become a social worker in hopes of having an impact in the lives of those experiencing adversity because someone had once made an impact on me.”
Abdulkadir touched on the struggles of facing imposter syndrome as a refugee and how this feeling can discourage fellow refugees. She explained the importance of education for refugees specifically as well as to be able to see themselves represented in the current generations of students.

Tryphene Bulape-Mishambo

Tryphene Bulape-Mishambo
Tryphene Bulape-Mishambo, a social work major from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, arrived in the U.S. as a second grader. Bulape-Mishambo held high grades in high school and earned multiple college scholarships. However, as she was finishing high school, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she lost a friend to suicide. As a result, she also lost her financial aid and many scholarships, but she didn’t let that stop her.

Bulape-Mishambo spoke about the resiliency and strength it takes to turn around from events like the ones she has endured. She emphasized the importance of perseverance and finding the ability to trust that some processes take time and are not always immediate.
“I want the public to know just how resilient refugees can be,” Bulape-Mishambo said. “Speaking for myself, I have seen too much and been through too much to just stop.”
Bulape-Mishambo is a spectacular example of these qualities as she begins her second year as a senator for the College of Health Sciences and continues to set a great example for students from any and all backgrounds.

Eliza Shabire

Eliza Shabire
Eliza Shabire, a social work student, came to the U.S. without her parents in the year of 2020. She moved in with her grandparents and spoke about how this situation affected her mental health. Shabire deeply appreciates this opportunity as she has developed into a strong and resilient woman who knows she can handle whatever she is faced with.

Shabire started college a year after moving to the States. During this process she saw first hand how hard it was to access mental health services and help for immigrants and refugees. This inspired Shabire to study her hardest and to become a mental health and advocacy provider through social work. This would allow her to start on the journey of growing and providing the mental health services she saw so little of herself. She spoke of her responsibility to share with the world what immigrants and refugees are facing and how much they have to offer. Shabire touched on the importance of sharing refugee experiences. She said “talking about my background and my culture gives me a chance to shine and show the world that we are more than just refugees or immigrants.”

Building Bridges, Making Friends showcased the resiliency and adaptability of student refugees from a diversity of backgrounds around the world. By choosing to speak at this panel, these students exemplified their strength of character and determination to succeed despite any obstacles in their way. The event shed light on what the community can do to welcome refugees as well as celebrate them and their vast variety of accomplishments.

Learn more about Boise State’s refugee collaborative.

Learn more about the Idaho Office for Refugees.

Learn more about Boise State’s social work programs.