5 Ways Christians Can Support Refugee Employment & Entrepreneurship
By Fargol Dyrud and Kylie Mean, Greater Boston Refugee Ministry
We at the Greater Boston Refugee Ministry have learned that employment is one the toughest issues refugees face in rebuilding their lives in the US. The Christian community has a vital role to play in addressing this widespread challenge.
A church’s extensive social network can provide refugees with connections that can speed up the process of finding a job or starting a business, in some cases by years. Welcoming refugees into our community network can transform their employment and entrepreneurship journey.
"Before I got my first job, I was lost and under pressure." - Afghan woman
If you’re interested in making a positive difference in the lives of refugees, pray with your church community about how God may be calling you to engage in refugee employment or entrepreneurship in any of the following ways.
ways you can HELP
1. As a Potential Employer
If you are a hiring manager, or are part of the hiring process, consider hiring a refugee. Their credentials may not look the same as some other candidates, but consider how their skills, experience, and resilient character may benefit your company.
2. As an Advocate
Speak to friends, co-workers, and others in your community about the value of refugees as workers, consumers, and contributors of rich cultural diversity to their neighborhoods. Encourage others to celebrate refugees as gifts to our workplaces, communities, and local economies.
Our Refugee Advocate Toolkit can help you share with others the positive difference refugees make in American communities. Sign up to receive conversation starters, facts & figures, and other resources.
3. As a Job Search Volunteer
Several organizations in the Greater Boston area support refugee employment and entrepreneurship, and they welcome volunteers to help with résumé-building, mentoring, mock interviews, and job application help.
If you are interested, let us know, and we can help point you towards some options.
4. As a Community Researcher/Learner
Add to our knowledge of resources available for our refugee neighbors. If you know of an organization that is doing great work in refugee employment or entrepreneurship in the Boston area, share what you know with GBRM. You may also consider serving GBRM as a research intern.
5. As a Church Community
Each church has different skills they can leverage in addressing the issue of refugee employment and entrepreneurship. Your community of faith can offer:
access to essential resources and knowledge
a sense of community and connection
a space for refugees to soundboard/test business ideas
"I think the churches could support refugees in many ways. They could maybe do some more connecting...they could plan some activities, get people together, support them more, get them into the society.” - Karen
God may have also gifted your church in specific ways that you can use to bless refugees looking for a job or hoping to start a business. Does your church have ESL programs, classroom space, members with industry-specific skills, etc.?
GBRM would love to help your church think through what could be your special leverage point within the refugee employment and entrepreneurship system.
Fargol was a 2017 GBRM research associate working in refugee employment/entrepreneurship and refugee housing as a part of her MBA. As an Iranian immigrant whose life has been affected by geopolitical forces, she empathizes with refugees and is passionate about serving them. Fargol leverages her fresh, insider perspective to push the boundaries of the refugee resettlement/recovery field.
Kylie’s heart for social enterprise, intercultural ministry and hospitality fits well with her role with EGC’s Greater Boston Refugee Ministry. She helps GBRM leadership and ambassadors consider how they can empower refugees and their employers to create transformational employment opportunities.