Refugees on their journey to empowerment and employability

Discover the stories of four refugees in Italy, Germany, France and Switzerland

In 2022, there were about 108 million refugees and 35 million asylum seekers around the world, who are primarily women and children, according to UNCHR, UN's Agency for Refugees. Many of them have the determination, capacity, and experience to set up their own businesses; others have the skills they need to find skilled jobs. The Human Safety Net aims to include newcomers into the labour market with services that break down barriers they may face in launching a new business or finding a job. We do this by proposing to talented and skilled refugees who want to build their own businesses or find job opportunities the following:

  • Entrepreneurship Path

Giving job seekers access to more than 20 different types of professional or vocational training, enabling them to take a first step into the labour market or to progress and grow their careers. Supporting aspiring or existing entrepreneurs in gaining the right business skills, legal advice, expert mentoring, and networking opportunities to launch or grow their business

  • Employability Path

Giving job seekers access to more than 20 different types of professional or vocational training, enabling them to take a first step into the labour market or to progress and grow their careers.

To do so, we leverage a network of 21 NGO partners in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Luxemburg. These organizations adapt their programs to meet local market conditions to best support entrepreneurs and job seekers, offering expert advice and training which results in meaningful business growth and gainful employment.  Since 2019, The Human Safety Net has contributed to creating 400 businesses and generating 500 jobs.

Parvin, an Information Engineering student in Italy

Born in Afghanistan but having lived most of her life displaced in Iran with her family, Parvin arrived in Italy in the autumn of 2022, in her early twenties. She is now attending an Information Engineering course at Padua University, benefitting from a scholarship. And once again, thanks to A2030 Social Innovation Designers, she attended the ReadyforIT course launched by Fondazione Italiana Accenture in partnership with The Human Safety Net in the first half of 2023. She says: "The ReadyforIT course is fantastic because it's practical on software and provides the skills you need when looking for a job."

Maher, a mechatronic technician at Lufthansa in Germany

Maher Scheicho came to Germany from Iraq at the age of 21. With the help of JOBLINGE gAG Hanse, he made the first steps step into the working world and began an apprenticeship as an automotive mechatronics technician at BMW - even though he was taking care of his younger brother. When he had difficulties at vocational school, JOBLINGE helped him find the right tutoring in cooperation with BMW, accessing the specific programs. In January 2023, the now 28-year-old completed his training at BMW and started his new job at Lufthansa in Hamburg in June. Maher says: "JOBLINGE has changed my life. Not only did I improve my language and learn everything about jobs, writing applications and the necessary IT skills. It also helped me to set goals and make a plan. Thanks to them, I managed to finalize my vocational training - and now completely different doors are open to me."

Ghaith, a data-analyst trainee at Generali in France

Originally from Syria, he came to France in 2016. After his arrival, he wanted to return to school and he got a Master's degree in International Relations. During one of his internships, Ghaith became interested in data and its importance. This year, he joined Generali as a Data Analyst work-study student, thanks to the program developed in France with each One, one of its NGO partners in France. "I saw it as an opportunity to learn a new job and improve my skills, and that's exactly what I'm doing". Ghaith has been training and discovering the full range of insurance professions within the Control Department for the past few months. "'m delighted to be able to process data that are real decision-making tools for my management team. I'm a committed person, and I'm happy to be training with a team that has made me feel very welcome and enables me to progress each day ".

Aram Rhman, a massage therapist in Zurich

Coming from Syria and having spent five years in Lebanon, Aram is a passionate masseur with 5-years-experience in massage therapy and chiropractic. His long-term goal is to be an international masseur. To achieve that, he wants to gain recognition for his massage experience and keep developing it creatively: as a first step, Aram hopes to establish an outdoor massage studio at Zurich Lake this summer. He learned about the entrepreneurship programme proposed by Capacity Zurich, a partner NGO of The Human Safety Net in a difficult phase where he felt lost. Aram says: "As a refugee, I suffered a lot, and I cried a lot! The integration in Switzerland is challenging, especially knowing all about their different systems. I was ready to work and had all the experience and the needed tools. But I did not know where to start. I needed much support and consultancy. Capacity is offering me that. Because of their guidance, I am getting closer to my long-term goal of being an international masseur!