This week, the world will mark World Refugee Day, created to bring awareness to the plight of refugees.
One Young World Ambassadors have created solutions to some of the issues refugees face; addressing a person's right to work through creating jobs and job platforms, creating platforms that directly connect refugees to people and communities in a new country and addressing underlying reasons for leaving their home country by creating peace out of conflict.
Here are some of those Ambassadors and their impactful work.
When Meron was 19, he slipped away from an oppressive government military camp run under Eritrea's longtime dictator. Many of his friends and fellow Eritreans faced a different reality where they drowned in capsized boats crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, or were held for ransom or killed by human traffickers. Meron couldn’t sit by idly as his country and its people were in such need. In 2011, he co-founded Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students, a nonprofit to help African refugees in South Africa enroll in college. He is also the founder of Lead Eritrea (Where Eritrean Youth Start Leading) and Refugee Student Association. Meron was the first person to ever carry the Refugee Flag in the One Young World Flag Ceremony in 2016.
Taban is a child genocide survivor who grew up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. She fled to England with her family and settled here. In 2014 she was so horrified by seeing another genocide campaign unfurling at the hands of so-called ISIS, that she gave up her successful city job and threw herself into humanitarian work, heading back to Iraq to help with refugee aid. Since returning to the UK she has set up the Lotus Flower charity, aimed at helping vulnerable women and girls in refugee camps in Kurdistan through sustainable employment and psychological recovery.
Mozamel founded two initiatives that are helping realise rights for refugees. After moving from Afghanistan to Berlin, he co-founded WeConnect, a platform that connects refugees with locals through common interests and passions. In 2016, he co-founded Migranthire.com where with one click refugees and migrants can find job offers and other opportunities that suit their skill sets. After identifying the demand in the tech sector for skilled workers, Mozamel also joined Devugees to train refugees to become Web Developers, Digital Marketers, Product owners or Data Analysts.
While Saba was pursuing her PhD in Mathematical Biology, she and a team of four other students from Texas Tech University won the Tibetan Innovation Challenge. The team created a business plan that would help ensure the economic future of Tibetans. The Tibetan Innovation Challenge was founded after the Dalai Lama expressed concern over the number of young Tibetans who were forced to flee their homeland in search of jobs. The team travelled to India to see their business plan implemented for more than 105,000 Tibetan refugees living in India and Nepal.
John Jal Dak
As a Sudanese refugee in Uganda, Jon began advocating for a peaceful South Sudan by creating networks and structures which provide safe spaces for refugee youth to address conflict. He founded the Youth Social Advocacy Team, and then Rhino Camp Youth Council. Between these two initiatives, his work has addressed tribal clashes between youth, supported hundreds of people to start their own enterprises and also trained hundreds on trauma, healing and conflict resolution.
Ghida combined on-the-ground knowledge with hard skills as a developer and a data scientist to build an AI- powered platform that connects refugees to opportunities in real-time. Ghida’s vision is to make rafiqi.net the platform of choice for refugees and for any organization/individual interested in nurturing or accessing young refugee talent. By doing this, Ghida is directly addressing the low level of economic integration that refugees and migrants typically experience in new countries.
Maria worked as the National Supervisor for the Free Housing Projects for internally displaced refugees. She led 5 departments, ensuring that all the victims were given healthcare, education and job prospects. This role allowed her to reach over 400,000 refugees, helping them start afresh in their communities. Maria recently attended a session between One Young World Ambassadors and the InterAction Council where she contributed to policies surrounding migrants and refugees.
As the Chair of the UN Refugee Agency Global Youth Advisory Council, Arash is responsible for helping young women and men transition into countries. Through his work, he won the Young Australian Human Rights Medal. With fellow One Young World Ambassador Foni Vuni, Arash founded the #ForYou campaign to bring light to how refugees and displaced people are at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Laura Fatio, Fernando Oliveira & Guilherme Sperandio
Together, Laura, Fernando and Guilherme founded Refúgio 343 - a humanitarian organization dedicated to the response of the biggest migratory conflict in the western hemisphere. The organisation rescues Venezuelan refugee families in Brazil, through the process of interiorization, a planned relocation strategy. They work in partnership with leading organizations involved in the response of this crisis, including the Brazilian Armed Forces, IOM, UNHCR, Fraternity Without Borders, AVSI, among others. So far, 528 people have been rescued to 72 Brazilian cities, 63% of families have an employed household member, 38% of the children are now in school, and 174 families have been settled legally in the country, with 31 more underway.