How We Can Leverage Technology to Help Refugees Gain Employment.
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” — Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth.
As it stands, the employment challenge is currently a significant barrier in the road to refugee integration.
Even after being granted permission to work, there are still many obstacles preventing refugees from finding a job.
A few of these issues include:
- Lack of understanding about the working culture and labor market in the country they have moved to.
- Lack of relevant experience, a network, and connections.
- Lack of jobs available — many refugees are hosted by countries that can barely afford to support their own populations.
- Personal trauma — many refugees have fled for their life. Many arehighly affected by what they have been through, and may need further support before searching for a job is an option.
- Government bureaucracy.
- Social discrimination from employers.
Finding employment is a vital part of social integration. In fact, it is the most significant factor favoring long-term integration of refugees.
Having a job enables people to work alongside their new community members as a means of slowly rebuilding their social networks and becoming better acquainted with their new surroundings.
It is about more than just financial security — it increases a person’s self worth by allowing them to use their hard-earned skills and qualifications which they can then use to make a contribution to society.
It is critical for the journey towards belonging.
Turning Our Back On Refugees Is Not An Option
In light of recent events, we have witnessed many politicians around the world attempt to turn their back on refugees.
However, these fear-tactics are both misleading and harmful to the perception of refugees around the world.
Some of the most influential figures in history have been refugees.
Sir Moh Farah spent his early childhood as a refugee in Djibouti with his twin brother. He has since went on to become the United Kingdom’s most successful distance runner.
Lord Alf Dubs was taken into Britain as a Jewish refugee as one of 10,000 child refugees in the Second World War. He has since succeeded as a British Labour politician and a former member of Parliament.
World-renowned scientist, Albert Einstein was forced to flee from Germany to the US after the Nazi’s anti-Semitic policies made it difficult for him to carry out his work.
Henry Kissinger, the former United States Secretary of State, was one of the very fortunate few who managed to gain admission to the US in 1938, at a time when the majority of Americans were opposed to the idea of accepting refugees. In 1973, he went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2012, Kissinger stated that turning away refugees “would be incompatible with America’s values and our image of who we are”.
Many Refugees Are Highly Skilled, Yet Struggling to Find Work
Our first response to the refugee crisis was: How can we help them immediately?
Our second question should now be: How can we help them to rebuild their lives?
Many refugees have had long, successful careers in their previous countries, only to find themselves jobless and homeless after arriving at their new location.
Digital tools have been a vital part in helping struggling refugees to rebuild their lives, for multiple reasons. Firstly, as a way of allowing people access to the information they need, secondly by giving people the ability to improve vital skills they will need to thrive, and, ultimately, by allowing people to find a job.
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in technology available aimed towards helping refugees to utilize their skills to find meaningful employment.
A couple of notable examples include:
Chatterbox was created by Mursal Hedayat, who came to the UK as a refugee from Afghanistan.
The startup was founded in 2016, with the aim of helping refugees to find meaningful work that utilizes their talents. They train and employ displaced people to teach their native languages to people who want to learn them.
Users of the platform can connect with these speakers and arrange classes either online or in person.
This platform utilizes the language skills of refugees, whilst helping to reduce the language skills deficit that is currently costing the UK over £48 billion every year.
Ankommen (“Arrive”) is a smartphone app dedicated to helping people who have arrived in Germany as a refugee to integrate in their first few weeks.
The platform boasts many useful features, including:
- Basic German language lessons
- Rules that those living in Germany should pay attention to
- Important information about asylum proceedings
- How to find vocational training and employment
The app is available in five languages (Arabic, English, Farsi, French, and German), free of charge, free of advertisements, and free to be used offline.
Microsoft Philanthropies is an organization dedicated to helping young refugees achieve their dreams by empowering first responders, humanitarian organizations, and displaced people.
In particular, the programme provides refugees with digital skills resources to help them to gain digital literacy and computer science skills.
After taking these courses, users will have a fundamental understanding of vital subjects such as technology, computer science, employment, and entrepreneurship.
It Is Our Duty to Help Refugees to Rebuild Their Lives
Unfortunately, throughout history, refugees have often been viewed as a burden and turned away.
This was the case with thousands of Jews fleeing from the Nazi regime as far back as 1933.
It was the case with over a million Vietnamese “boat people” who fled their country in the later 1970s and early 1980s.
And now, it is the case with the Syrian refugees and refugees from other countries all around the world who are fleeing from crisis in their countries.
However, as well as being both a humanitarian and legal obligation, there is evidence to suggest that welcoming refugees is actually an investment that has the potential to yield substantial economic dividends.
Refugees Work, a study by the Tent Foundation, found that investing €1 ($1.20) in welcoming refugees could yield almost twice that amount in economic benefits within as little as five years.
The refugee crisis is not, and should not be, merely a professional obligation.
If you enjoyed this, you can send me a message at email@example.com m— I’d love to hear from you. ☺️
Otherwise, please clap & share to let me know you liked it! 👏 ⭐️ ❤️