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Free translation service helps Egyptian Community file for benefits during COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 14:38:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Filing for unemployment benefits can be a tricky process especially for non-native English speakers, but now some in the Egyptian community are stepping up to help their neighbors.

Amgad Soliman is teaming up with some of his friends to provide free translation assistance. He has posted several videos on Facebook in Arabic covering everything from how to upload documents, to how to apply for financial assistance. The group also offers phone numbers people can call if they have questions or need some help translating a form. All of the services are provided free of charge.

"This is open to anyone in the community who needs assistance," said Soliman. "It's great to give back to the community."

Soliman estimated there are around 25,000 native Egyptians living in Middle Tennessee. Many lost their jobs to due to the COVID-19 outbreak and are struggling to pay bills and rent.

Soliman said a translator would be needed to complete a state unemployment form.

"A lot of people don't speak English or understand English," said Soliman. "A lot of them have been here for six months to a year."

Soliman said he hoped the effort would help people during a difficult time.

"A lot of people stopped calling the state lines asking for information because I am providing information in my videos," said Soliman.

Soliman moved to Middle Tennessee from Egypt 18 years ago with his family, and remembered how people helped him adapt to a new community. He said now he wants to do the same for others.

"Now it's my turn," said Soliman. "Now that I have lived here, and learned the language, I can give back what was given to me."

He encouraged others to take time to assist neighbors in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

"One thing my parents taught me is to always give back to the community."

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.