Hope Communities is excited to welcome Lailey Hashem to the Hope family. Lailey is joining us as a Dari Community Navigator and Interpreter for our THRIVE program. (Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan.)
Hope has joined forces with Metro Denver nonprofits and community organizations to improve services for refugee communities throughout the Metro area. Supported by a grant from the Colorado Refugee Services Program, we are serving as the primary coordinator of a cohort of organizations working to build cross-system teams, with each collaborating organization contributing its core capacities to streamline and strengthen systems designed to support refugees in gaining knowledge and support in accessing resources needed for independence and integration, building secure, vibrant and cohesive communities.
Hope offers educational programs and resource navigation to people from our properties and the broader community for free. Our team is made up of navigators that speak Dari, Pashto, Arabic, Burmese, Somali, Spanish and English.
Lailey was born in Afghanistan but came to Colorado as child with her family and eight siblings. Living in a 2-bedroom apartment, learning English and navigating American culture was challenging but she worked hard and kept her focus on her dreams. She earned a degree in International Relations and International Business from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. She went on to work in banking and finance in California and Colorado for several years.
Speaking Dari and Pashto, she has been working as an interpreter for 15 years. She initially came to this work as a volunteer when she learned of the need for female interpreters to accompany women in her community to doctor’s appointments. She loved being of service and went on to obtain several translation certifications, and volunteered with the Community Empowerment Program, which worked with African Community Center. Lailey is inspired to help newcomers and refugees as she understands the challenges of coming to a foreign country and remembers how much she wished that she and her family had had such support. She loves this work as it presents extraordinary opportunities to meet new people and support them in reaching for their dreams.
Lailey finds deep satisfaction in educating newcomers about the resources available to them and helping them feel connected and supported in their new community. She is relentless in getting new families connected to support services that can help them be successful in their new lives – this has been everything from diapers to securing cars for families in need. In sharing a story about a family that arrived in Colorado in the middle of winter with only slippers for shoes, Lailey shared, “as a human being your heart cannot take that. You have to help.”
Lailey is married and a proud parent of 4 adult children. She serves as the Vice President of her Masjid Ikhlas (Metropolitan Denver North Islamic Center) and serves on the advisory board for MYPI, Muslim Youth for Positive Impact. Her youngest child is off to college in the fall ,so she is looking forward to having even more time to do the work she loves! Welcome, Lailey!