3 Amazing Tools If You Work With Refugees

You may have noticed that it has been longer than usual since I posted last - I promise I have a very good reason for that. This past week I participated in a continuing education course at Northwestern University in "Refugee Protection and the Rights and Process of (Re)Settlement." It was a week packed with lectures, discussions, reading, and learning. Participants came from all over the world to enhance their work with refugees or their academic study of forced migration. While the course sparked lots of ideas for blog posts that I'll share in the coming months, for now I just want to share 3 amazing tools I was introduced to during the week.

Training Videos from RefugeeLegalAidInformation.org

At it's heart being a refugee means being granted a legal status based on international law that affords certain individuals with certain rights to protection. So, in order to understand the legal rights of refugees and asylum seekers, you have to be familiar with refugee law. Having this knowledge is especially important today when the media is filled with contradictory information about how refugees are processed and screened, and how asylum seekers go about proving their right to protection.

RefugeeLegalAidInformation.org is a fantastic resource for understanding refugee law, but there is so much excellent information that it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate the website. The Well Founded Fear videos (first 3 videos on the linked page) are a helpful introduction to refugee law (particularly the difficult process asylum seekers go through to prove they qualify for refugee status and protection).

Upward Mobility for Refugees

One of our speakers during the week is the director of the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project, the goal of which is "to rethink refugees in resettlement as active agents in their own livelihoods." Most refugees resettled in the US spend over 10 years in a minimum wage job with no real advancement opportunities, simply because they had little understanding of the US job market and how career laddering works. Those working on the Upward Mobility Project want to change that and help resettlement agencies and others who work with refugees to become more effective at helping refugees find careers, and not just jobs.

Visit their website to download their full report that explains how you can better assist the refugees you work with. You can also register for a seminar which are being held in major cities around the country this year.

Hope for Skilled Refugees

While the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project (see above) specifically researches the career opportunities of refugees, an organization called Upwardly Global is taking steps to help highly skilled refugees and immigrants enter their profession in a new country. For refugees who were previously doctors, lawyers, or doing other highly skilled work, continuing their job after resettlement not only means learning a new language, but also become certified in their new home. This can be a confusing and difficult process, and that's where Upwardly Global comes in. They help candidates navigate the difficult process of becoming licensed in the US so that they can continue doing the job they love.

These are just 3 amazing tools out of the many that I learned about last week. If you are interested in attending something like the continuing course at Northwestern, leave a comment and let me know - I can point you to a few different options.

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