Facing the challenges of entering the workforce

Among the programmes developed by Road of Hope (RoH) to assist refugees in their process of integration, the Work Integration programme is one of the most important. RoH has been developing its Work Integration Programme since 2018 which forms part of its Relationship Development and Social Guidance initiative.

For 32 year old Syrian refugee, Souad Karmo,  the programmes provided by RoH are essential to helping her join the workforce. After living in the Netherlands for five years, the language barrier and lack of knowledge about Dutch working culture have been her biggest challenges. Yet, with the help of Road of Hope, Souad has been able to thrive.

“I undertook Dutch language lessons with an excellent professor from the Road of Hope Foundation; these were really useful. Then the foundation helped me to find volunteer work within my field, something I had long strived to find. I now feel comfortable and happy in this work”, says Souad, whose professional field is marketing in business administration.

“I remember when Souad approached us after a Dutch class with a request to help her to find a job within her professional field. We introduced her to our network called Nieuw-West Informele Zorg Netwerk and there we facilitated conversations, introduced her to multiple contacts and consequently, she is now working as a volunteer in one of the member organizations of the network: Huis van de Wijk het Anker” reports the director of RoH, Patricia Barendregt. Based upon the experiences the organization has had with refugees, RoH also takes into account the refugee’s culture, perspective and needs when helping them join the workforce, ensuring that refugees are comfortable in their new positions. In the long term,  this programme aims to give refugees the tools for them to continue to actively contribute to the Dutch economy and society. 

Refugee’s Voice

An Interview with Reem

RoH – You have faced many struggles as an asylum seeker and then a refugee. Would you feel comfortable telling us about this and how you were able to overcome it?
Reem – The main difficulty I encountered was the language barrier. I was able to overcome this problem by attending language courses and through going to appointments and meetings on my own. There I would listen and try to speak the language independently.

RoH – Can you tell us about one of your best moments from living in the Netherlands? Also, what do you most like about Dutch culture?
Reem – A memorable moment for me was passing my Inburgering exam. What I like the most about Dutch culture is the freedom and equality.

RoH – What messages of hope do you have for individuals who, like you, are starting their life in a new country and are feeling fearful or uncertain?
Reem – The positive message that I would give is to not give up and to use the opportunity for personal growth and development.

RoH –What further changes do you think society needs to make, in order to better accommodate refugees and allow them to play a more active part in their community?
Reem – There needs to be an increase in job opportunities.

RoH – How has participating in the project, Breath of Hope, helped your life in the Netherlands and your integration into Dutch society?
Reem – Road of Hope helped me by offering courses to improve my language skills, hosting recreational activities for the children, and assisting me in searching for job opportunities. After I finished my Civil Integration exam (Inburgeringexamen), I became an assistant for the psychologist who leads the Breath of Hope sessions; I did this for six months. This really helped me to learn how to promote self-confidence and how to deal with personal problems, step by step.

RoH – What hopes and dreams do you have for the future?
Reem – My dream for the future is to speak better Dutch in order to help myself and my children’s education, and to get a job in my field of study.

The campaign #Masks4Refugees continues to provide hundreds masks to the most vulnerable

Since the beginning of August, when the campaign #Masks4Refugees started, there have been five workshop sessions with refugee women. These have produced cloth masks which will be donated to undocumented people in Amsterdam and to refugees outside of the city this month. Along with the masks, RoH will include an illustrated guide in order to explain how to correctly wear the masks.

The initiative is part of the Breath of Hope programme, which aims to empower women through providing opportunities for self-reflection, for interacting with the local Dutch community and for processing traumatic experiences. Such activities are aimed to promote emotional resilience, independence and self-belief.

All the materials used in the mask workshops are acquired through donations. If you would like to contribute to our goal of making 500 masks, please make a donation through our Go Fund Me campaign.