Each week we collect the most interesting, inspiring and innovative refugee stories from around the world to share with you. This week, in celebration of Labor Day, we are spotlighting stories showcasing refugees and the contributions they make to the workforce. Here are this week’s picks:
Starbucks Awards $63K Grant to Berkeley’s 1951 Coffee Company (via San Francisco Chronicle)
Berkeley coffeehouse dedicated to hiring and training refugees receives a Starbucks “Opportunity for All” grant totaling $63,000 to expand its barista training program.
“I think it was amazing timing for us. Once the cafe opened and the training program got underway, we saw the amazing jobs people could get. It’s to the point where we had a vision greater than our resources,” said Rachael Taber, co-founder of 1951.
The grant will allow 1951 Coffee Company to expand its Bay Area training operations and prepare the launch of a second location in San Diego. Read more about 1951 and Starbucks’ commitment to and support for refugees.
11 Books Written by or About Refugees to Add to Your Summer Reading List (via PopSugar)
Novels, poems, short stories, children’s books and even comics—refugees are writing about their experiences and there is book for every reader.
PopSugar asked Amazon book editor Sarah Smith to recommend a few books both about refugees and by refugees.
Check out the recommendations and add a couple more books to that summer reading list!
In Maine, Ekhlas Gives Back to the Community That Gave Her Hope (via USA for UNHCR)
She first learned the English alphabet as high school freshman when her family resettled in Portland, Maine after being forced to flee from Sudan in 2003. Now at 25, Ekhlas Ahmed has a college degree, is working on her graduate degree and teaches refugee students at the very high school where she first learned how to speak English.
“I really believe that education gives people the opportunity to overcome obstacles, stereotypes and hardships they’ve endured in the past. Education not only opens doors, it opens minds. But if you don’t feel safe it’s so hard to learn.” Ekhlas Ahmed
Read her incredible story here.
He Walked 370 Miles to Escape Somali War and Spent 16 years in a Kenyan Refugee Camp. Now He’s Working in Omaha to Help Others (via Omaha World Herald)
“For 16 years I was denied the opportunity to follow my dreams,” said Dekow Sagar, 34. “I finally got that opportunity in America through the refugee resettlement program.”
Sagar is now a program coordinator at Lutheran Family Services, a refugee resettlement agency. “It’s really my dream job, my passion . . . I can now say that I’ve been on both sides of the refugee story.”
Read more of Dekow’s story and how he is enriching the Omaha community.
Kluge, UVa Professor Part of Unique Effort to Help Refugees (via The Daily Progress)
Can crowdfunding micro-loans in the U.S. move the needle on helping more refugees have access to work and open small businesses in their host countries? A new initiative from Alight Fund, a Charlottesville, VA based startup and the crowdfunding site Kiva, believes this combination will.
“We’re really excited to kind of start seeing this paradigm shift of one away from just a humanitarian focus to addressing the refugee crisis and one that looks at long-term sustainable solutions and livelihoods and income generating projects for refugees,” said Lev Plaves, senior portfolio manager at Kiva for the Middle East.
And the best part, all you need is $25 to get involve. Anyone interesting in contributing can make a loan of $25 or more at Kiva.org/Refugees. USA for UNHCR is providing matching funds for the micro-loans.
Read more about the initiative here.