Unlocking and Engaging Talent: Pathways for Dignified Work

Migration Summit 2024

2024 Goals

GOAL 1

Shift mindsets about the positions displaced individuals should occupy in the job market, promoting a more inclusive and diverse perspective.

GOAL 2

Spark actions by encouraging individuals, businesses, and organizations to take tangible steps towards creating opportunities for displaced individuals in the workforce.

GOAL 3

Develop a resource platform and bank of materials for career training and pathways, providing practical support and guidance for migrants and refugees seeking employment.

Did you miss a session?

Portraits OF TALENT

This page aims to highlight and celebrate the diverse community of displaced individuals worldwide.
The goal of this campaign is to challenge stereotypes and biases surrounding the roles migrants, refugees, or displaced individuals can play in the job market, promoting a more inclusive and diverse perspective, and showcasing the human side of the story.

Alida Mushiranzigo

Alida Mushiranzigo is a refugee from Burundi, living in South Africa, where she is actively seeking job opportunities. Alida has a bachelor’s degree in IT Management, and is a graduate of the MIT Emerging Talent Computer and Data Science Certificate program and the Amsterdam University Data Science practitioner fellowship program. She has also completed several internships in her field of study. Alida has struggled to find a full-time role in data science due to being a non-citizen and having fewer years of experience compared to other applicants.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Never give up. Always work very hard to make your dream and vision come true. As a refugee or asylum seeker, you must work so hard by doubling your efforts when you compete for a position with other fellow candidates who are citizens.”

Mikal Afewerki

Originally from Eritrea and now living in the United States, Mikal Afewerki is currently seeking a role in data science and exploring entrepreneurship. Prior to this, Mikal was a freelance web developer, a role she found through Na’amal. She is an alum of the Certificate in Computer and Data Science from MIT Emerging Talent and pursued MITx graduate level courses such as Machine Learning and Data Science. With this knowledge, Mikal set off to find a job in data science. Mikal has experienced challenges finding work that matches her skills and qualifications. The primary challenge has been the intensive competitiveness of the job market, where many positions require extensive years of experience. Despite having the necessary skills and qualifications, including several internships, Mikal has fewer years of work experience, which has made it difficult to find the right job opportunity.

If you could work in any company, what would it be? In what role?

“If I could work in any company or organization, I would choose to work as a Data Scientist or Backend Developer at a leading tech company like Google, Amazon, or a cutting-edge startup focused on innovative solutions. These roles align with my passion for data analysis and backend development, and working at such companies would allow me to leverage my skills to contribute to impactful projects and technological advancements.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“I would say to stay focused and dedicated to your goals. It’s crucial to gain hands-on experience through internships or practical projects, as these opportunities provide valuable skills and insights that can set you apart in a competitive job market. Embrace learning and take advantage of every chance to apply your knowledge in real-world situations.”

Emmanuel Ani

Born and raised in Nigeria, Emmanuel Ani is a HSEQ/ESG Consultant at Chariot Safety Services.He found his way to this role through a combination of training and serendipitous opportunities, and leveraged his professional network to discover this job opening. The hiring team was impressed by a project he presented on workplace safety improvements during the interview process, as well as his industry certifications and continuous education in HSE standards. Emmanuel’s qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in risk management and insurance; master’s degrees in occupational health and safety management and transportation planning and management; as well as many certifications and experience in compliance and regulatory affairs. These qualifications, combined with strong analytical and problem-solving skills, make Emmanuel a valuable asset to Chariot Safety Services, where he is committed to fostering safer and healthier work environments.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Trust the journey, embrace continuous learning, and build strong professional networks. Seek mentors, stay adaptable, and never underestimate the power of persistence. Your dedication to HSE will create meaningful impacts—believe in your potential and keep pushing forward.”

Ebengo Honore Hondfg'oa

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now living in Kenya, Ebengo is the director of the refugee-led organization Advocacy Initiative for Youth Development (AdIYD2). In his role, he oversees and coordinates all activities, negotiates contracts with donors, and defines new projects or programs. He ensures that project activities are implemented according to approved proposals and donor requirements. Additionally, he assists in researching new projects and, in collaboration with partners, plans effective and mutually beneficial capacity-building projects to develop and share knowledge, skills, and attitudes in line with the organization’s best practices. He also approves all reports and submits them to the partners. He is still looking for employment opportunities and has experience in Project Management, Human Resources and many Digital Skills that he can contribute.

If you could work in any organization, what would it be?

“Humanitarian organization or any nonprofit organization both with national and international impact.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Keep searching and maintain a positive mindset.”

Ali Sina Nazari

Born and raised in Afghanistan, Ali is a passionate software Engineer with strong foundations in designing, developing and optimizing tech solutions. He is currently pursuing a degree in Software Engineering at the American University of Afghanistan and just graduated from MIT Emerging Talent’s Certificate in Computer and Data Science. He is adept at leveraging the Python programming language to extract meaningful insights from complex datasets. His coursework has equipped him with a solid understanding of machine learning algorithms, statistical modeling, and software development methodologies. Driven by a curiosity to explore the intersections of software engineering and data science, he seeks innovative solutions to real-world problems.

If you could work in any organization, what would it be? In what role?

“I would work in a tech company and have the role of a software engineer.”

Have you experienced any challenges when trying to find work that matches your skills and qualifications?

“What I have faced is that the managers in small companies work more with a friendly face who does everything they ask aside from what they are assigned on the contract. I mostly look for a precise role.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Look for connections everywhere. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself in a gathering, to meet new people, and to give people chances to prove themselves while also working on yourself.”

Sharon Wamalwa

Born and raised in Kenya, Sharon Wamalwa works as a Business Development Representative at Resilient People, a position she found through Na’amal. She had no previous experience in sales, but Sharon embraced the challenge and actively participated in her training program. She is thankful to the trainer of her program, who was instrumental in her success and in landing a full-time position. Her communication, objection handling, and market research skills have been key to making her a valuable member of the team.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“If I could give advice to my younger self or someone in a similar position from five years ago, it would be to persevere when things seem not to be working out. Don’t give up—take a break, reassess your strategy, and come back stronger. This approach was invaluable for me, especially last year when my job search was challenging. The break I took and the new strategy I developed led me to Resilient People, and I’m grateful for that. Additionally, keep an open mind about work opportunities. Don’t be too selective—embrace the chance to learn and grow in different areas. I have a strong background in data analysis but limited knowledge of sales. My willingness to learn and expand my skillset has been incredibly rewarding. In Kiswahili, we say, “Mchagua jembe si mkulima,” meaning a true farmer does not choose their hoe. Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow – you never know where you will land.”

Nicole Okongo

Born and raised in Kenya, Nicole is an advocate of the high court, with a demonstrated history in commercial, corporate and general legal practice.

 

She is currently working as a research Lead at Samuel Hall East Africa, a social enterprise that conducts research, evaluates programmes, and designs policies in contexts of migration and displacement. She got the job thanks to a friend of hers, after she experienced a very hard time after losing a pregnancy. Nicole is a commercial lawyer skilled in Legal research and writing, Commercial transactions (including the provision of technical support), Civil and criminal litigation. Nicole is a strong administrative professional with an ongoing Masters Degree focused in international Relations from The National University of East London and a Masters in Corporate Governance and Law from the University of Nairobi.

Why are you working in the field?

“The refugees’ stories changed my mind not just to think of myself but ways of helping others achieve their goals. I then registered the Eaglestone Africa Foundation. I run two organizations: a law firm and the Foundation that helps in the rural areas, especially in research work and implementation, advocating for reproduction health and women’s rights. We are 8 years strong.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Learning never stops, be open minded and receptive to change.”

 

The quotes in this article have been slightly edited for clarity and grammatical accuracy.

Ahmed Omran

Originally from Sudan, Ahmed is currently residing in France and is looking for job opportunities matching his skills. Despite facing numerous adversities, including political persecution and forced displacement, he has remained committed to education and activism. Ahmed has worked with international organizations such as the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and has been actively involved in advocating for development and stability in Darfur. Although he is currently unemployed due to various challenges, including language barriers and discrimination, Ahmed believes his experiences, resilience, and determination make him a valuable addition to any team.

If you could work in any organization, what would it be? In what role?

“Given the opportunity, I would be honored to work with international organizations like IOM, UN , Rescue, WFP, UNDP, or Oxfam. My personal experiences and passion for activism make me believe that I could significantly contribute in a role focused on advocacy or policy development. Such a role would allow me to leverage my experiences, skills, and determination to champion human rights and challenge injustices.”

Have you experienced any challenges when trying to find work that matches your skills and qualifications?

“I have faced significant challenges in the job market. When I immigrated from Libya to France via Italy in 2017, I had hoped to continue my university studies and obtain an additional degree. However, this proved to be more difficult than anticipated, and I found myself needing to look for a job. Despite applying for over 1,000 jobs over the years, I faced one rejection after another. There were periods when I worked in roles that were not related to my professional life. For a variety of reasons, including language barriers and discrimination, I found myself unable to fully utilize my skills. I often ended up in low-paying jobs that required fewer skills and offered no career development, trapping me in a vicious cycle. Even with a common language, it became clear that discrimination can significantly hinder an immigrant’s professional life. Unfortunately, I am currently unemployed. These experiences have underscored the challenges many immigrants face in finding work that matches their skills and qualifications.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Never stop learning: Continue to seek knowledge and improve your skills. Education is a powerful tool that can open many doors”.

Hakizimana Moise

Hakizimana Moise is a refugee from Burundi, currently residing in Kenya, and is actively seeking a job. Prior to 2020 he worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where he resides. Hakizimana was able to work part time while also learning at Jesuit Worldwide Learning, and graduated with a degree in business administration. He hopes to use these learnings to help develop his community and help them become more self-sufficient.

Have you experienced any challenges when trying to find work that matches your skills and qualifications? If so, what was your experience?

“When I first came to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in 2011 it was not easy for me to get a job. There were few roles available that received hundreds of applications. During that time, people got jobs not because of their experience, but because of the connections of their friends and relatives. I was still new to the camp and had to rely on my certificates to show my experience.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“If you have a job, you must protect it and be serious about the position, since there are many others who are looking for that same position. Getting a job is not easy since there are so many applicants, so pray for your chance and use the skills you have. Try to use your skills to start your own project that will uplift you in future.”

 

The quotes in this article have been slightly edited for clarity and grammatical accuracy.

Mudadi Saidi

Mudadi Saidi is a dedicated wash facilitator with extensive training and experience in achieving open defecation-free status in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Working alongside Peace Winds Japan in the Sanitation and Hygiene department, Mudadi has led successful initiatives to improve sanitation practices and hygiene standards within the camp. In addition to his work in Wash, Mudadi has been actively involved in environmental campaigns, particularly focusing on zero waste and plastic-free initiatives in Kakuma.

 

His commitment to environmental sustainability led him to join the Global Youth Coalition training and participate in the Oxford Net Zero program. As a climate change advocate and nature activist, Mudadi’s passion lies in using art as a powerful tool for positive change.

 

He firmly believes in the transformative power of art to empower individuals and communities. Through various art empowerment projects, Mudadi aims to promote self-reliance and create a meaningful impact on the lives of refugees and host communities alike. With his diverse skill set and unwavering dedication, Mudadi continues to be a driving force for positive change in Kakuma Refugee Camp and beyond. He is open for opportunities as a Project Manager.

Susan Achiech

Susan Achiech is a Project Manager at Digital Lions and immediately after she discovered the job opportunity, she was drawn to their mission. Securing the position was a significant milestone, highlighted by a serendipitous connection with a former colleague who vouched for her capabilities. Her journey has been enriched by valuable resources like online courses and mentorship programs. With a strong technical background, excellent communication skills, and a dedication to delivering high-quality services, she believes her contributions are instrumental in driving project success and fostering team collaboration.

If you could work in any role, what would it be?

Full Stack Developer

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Believe in your potential and embrace every learning opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to take risks or step out of your comfort zone; these moments will be the catalysts for your growth. Surround yourself with supportive mentors and peers who will inspire and challenge you. Most importantly, maintain your resilience and optimism, as they will help you navigate the inevitable setbacks. Keep honing your skills, stay curious, and trust that your dedication will lead to success and fulfillment.”

Peterkings Ayuk

Ayuk Peterkings is a Cameroonian refugee living in the Adagom refugee settlement in Nigeria. He is a Social Entrepreneurship Trainer and Facilitator for Sorex – Nigeria empowering refugees through skills acquisition and livelihoods. He has expertise in accounting and refugee studies and combines it with training, leadership and advocacy in the field. He describes himself as committed, creative, passion driven and wants to make lasting solutions for refugee education and livelihoods.

Have you experienced any challenges when trying to find work that matches your skills and qualifications?

“Finding work that matched my skills and experience presented several challenges. Despite holding a master’s in accounting and pursuing strategic management studies at Luiss University, I often faced skepticism about my credentials. The refugee status sometimes overshadowed my professional qualifications, making it difficult to gain the trust of potential employers. Additionally, limited access to professional networks and resources in the refugee settlement hindered my job search.”

Have you experienced any challenges when trying to find work that matches your skills and qualifications?

“Stay resilient and persistent in the face of challenges. Your journey as a refugee is filled with obstacles, but each challenge is an opportunity for growth and learning. Leverage every educational opportunity available, as education is a powerful tool for change and empowerment. Build and nurture a strong network of mentors and advocates who can guide and support you. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and others—your voice matters and can lead to significant change. Believe in your potential and stay committed to your passions, as they will drive you to create impactful solutions for your community.”

Daniela Alba

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Daniela Alba currently resides in Rome, Italy, where she works in Donor Relations at the Communications and Fundraising Department at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Before joining JRS, Daniela worked for OXFAM and UNICEF Italia, the Diocese of Brooklyn in New York. She interned at The Consulate General of Italy in New York and the FAO HQ in Rome. She is committed to education access, gender-based violence and cross-cultural advocacy of people with lived experience of displacement. She attributes her community’s support and access to education as the drivers behind her success. Daniela considers herself a privileged forcibly displaced person, which is why she is deeply committed to this cause.

If you could work in any company what would it be? In what role?

“I would love to work with as many organizations in both the private and public sector in order to really gather a holistic understanding of the gaps the system has and the tangible and durable solutions that can be crafted to address them. My ideal role would be in legal and social advocacy and awareness.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Never allow time to become a discouraging factor on your path to building the future you wish to see. If you have the privilege of taking your time and crafting your future on your own terms, do it. Once you do, do not forget those that have helped you on the way, embark on a path where in whatever field you find yourself, you are also setting a path for those who may not have the same access or opportunities to reach their full potential the way you have. When we build community and share resources with one another, our success becomes the stepping stones for small but meaningful change. Plant the seeds and allow others to water them with you.”

Husna Hashim

Husna Hashim is a refugee from Afghanistan, currently residing in India, where she works as a Program Assistant for Eagle Online Academy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration but despite Husna’s qualifications, her status as a refugee, combined with India’s high unemployment rate and competitive job market, made it very difficult to find a job. Initially a student and volunteer at Eagle Online Academy, a US-based nonprofit that helps Afghan women and refugees access academic opportunities, professional development, and mental health resources, Husna transitioned into a full-time role as a program assistant. Her unique perspective as someone directly affected by displacement, combined with her academic background and work to support marginalized populations, makes her a valuable employee.

If you could work in any company, what would it be? In what role?

“I would like to work with UN agencies in administrative and operational roles. Furthermore, I am interested in consulting with government entities, international organizations, and think tanks that support marginalized communities, especially women and immigrants, through their initiatives.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Someone once told me that being a refugee is a circumstance, not a person. My message to my younger self and individuals in similar situations is that our journey from our home countries to our current environments is only one chapter of our lives and does not define who we are or what we have to offer. While our circumstances put us at a disadvantage, they also drive us to pursue a safe and fulfilling life for ourselves and our families. Our experiences have taught us to be resourceful, adaptable and resilient. Stay optimistic, consider setbacks as lessons and be persistent in all your endeavors. Know that your experiences make you strong and unique.”

Shadrack Kabila

Shadrack Kabila is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, currently residing in Malawi, where he is a caseworker at the Dzaleka refugee camp. Shadrack leveraged multiple volunteer opportunities with Plan International Malawi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Red Cross Malawi to gain experience in social work and as an interpreter. He went on to formalize this training with a degree in social work from Regis University. Shadrack is leveraging his skillset and background to pay it forward, supporting and advocating for the needs of other displaced people through his role at the Dzaleka camp and in his two non-profits, the Agapao Foundation and Refugees Talk.

If you could work in any company, what would it be? In what role?

“Any humanitarian organization as a caseworker, child protection officer, or program officer. This role would allow me to leverage my experience and passion for supporting displaced people on a larger scale, contributing to the development and implementation of programs that provide essential services and opportunities to refugees globally.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Remain resilient and seize every opportunity for growth. Embrace volunteering as a pathway to gain valuable experience and build a network. Never underestimate the importance of continuous learning and developing skills that align with your passion. Most importantly, believe in your potential and stay determined, as perseverance can open doors you never imagined possible.”

Joelle Nyamoga Pidi

Joelle Nyamoga Pidi is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, currently residing in Uganda, where she works as a Project Administrator for Hands of Hope. Despite having the necessary skills and qualifications, Joelle struggled for years to gain employment in Uganda due to her refugee status. Her status even hindered her from getting service jobs like waitressing. After five years of job searching, Joelle was hired as a Project Administrator at the Hands of Hope Organization, where she has now worked for four years. She continues to take professional development courses in programming, business strategy, and systems networking to improve her skill set. Joelle aims to leverage her skills and experience to gain future roles in project management and customer service.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Always believe in yourself and know that you can always do better.”