World Refugee Day celebrates UNHCR women working #WithRefugees across countries

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UNHCR marks World Refugee Day with strength and courage

UNHCR marks World Refugee Day with strength and courage

"When I look to the future, I know what I want: For as long as I can, I want to be with UNHCR."
UNHCR Protection Associate, Shirin Aktar, Bangladesh

Talented women are driving meaningful change, working to impact the lives of refugees via purposeful and rewarding work for organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), Western Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

World Refugee Day is a critical trime for reflecting on what we all can do

For World Refugee Day 2018, we celebrate the important contribution that women are making to improving the lives of refugees, migrants and displaced communities. Marked annually on June 20, World Refugee Day, commemorates  the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees worldwide. Key organization, UNHCR, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes, delivering life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water to help safeguard fundamental human rights and ensuring safety and dignity. UNHCR is always looking for skilled people to join their efforts, especially female candidates. And you can always DONATE to UNHCR to support their important efforts.

UNHCR protection officer jobs - World Refugee Day

Judith supports refugees who are deaf or hard of hearing  

Assistant field officer Judith Chan works in a UNHCR team to resettle thousands of Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal. She finds effective ways to communicate with refugees who were deaf or hard of hearing, and finds her job incredibly rewarding. For Judith, every day at work - conducting interviews in the field and participating in large meetings in poor acoustic environments - can be challenging when one has hearing difficulties. Judith knows her work for UNHCR makes an important difference to the lives of many refugees.

“From my own experience as a person with a hearing disability, I recognized many of the frustrations and barriers that refugees encountered because I too faced these,” comments Judith. “Without a means to communicate, we rediscovered just how important language is. It allows us to make sense of our world and enables us to communicate our wants, needs, desires and feelings.”

World Refugee Day UNHCR

Refugee Robina draws on experience to support those in need

In just three months, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees fled violence in Myanmar to seek safety in Bangladesh. "You are dealing with people, mainly men, from different backgrounds - from labourers to loaders, truck drivers, to managers,” explains Robina Kolok from South Sudan who works as an Associate Supply Officer for UNHCR. You need to possess many characteristics, which I think women have," she explains.

"Logistically, we are bagging up various aid items like jerry cans, plastic sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking pots and solar lanterns. In the camps, refugees have to walk long distances to pick up aid items. So having the items already in kit form makes it easier for them to carry," explains Robina.

Robina knew she wanted to work with UNHCR from an early age as she herself was an urban refugee in Kenya. Having left South Sudan when she was young, Robina was a UNHCR beneficiary and was sponsored through her primary education. Although her work can be challenging, there is little doubt that it comes with its rewards. When Robina was quite new to UNHCR, she experienced the strong sense of achievement that she was seeking from a career.

World Refugee Day jobs at UNHCR

Shirin’s work makes a difference to the lives of women and children

Located in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, Shirin Aktar works as a UNHCR Protection Officer supporting women and children who are victims of gender-based violence and child exploitation. She is in the midst of the biggest emergency the region has experienced in decades and has witnessed thousands of people fleeing to Bangladesh.

Shirin and her colleagues work with communities to support a step-change in behaviour and mindsets, particularly among men and boys. “Compared to 12 years ago, there has been so much improvement. Women are participating more, they taking part in decision-making and education. There have been a lot of positive changes, which I am very happy about," suggests Shirin.

Western Union provides targeted education and support for communities

Western Union, a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, believes that opportunity knows no borders. Education is one of the surest pathways to economic opportunity. Through collaborations with NGOs around the world, Western Union has embarked on a five-year mission to connect 50,000 refugees, migrants, women and young people to the global economy by 2020 through demand-driven skills training and workforce enablement programs. They also offer a global scholarship program that helps put a post-secondary undergraduate education in reach for in-need students studying in the STEM fields and business. To date, the WU Foundation has given more than $113 million to fund projects affecting more than 800,000 people in 137 countries across the globe, including humanitarian relief for communities in crisis.

WU Foundation's #IAmMore campaign helps refugees share their stories with the world. And the Foundation’s signature program, Education for Better, provides educational opportunities for migrants and refugees, girls and women. They are helping to train 50,000 women and youth with job skills that prepare them for 21st century careers. They are helping serve 500+ universities with education-related products, and are supporting research to broaden global understanding of education challenges and solutions.

Recently, with support from the Western Union Foundation, 285 women were trained by The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) in entrepreneurship at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda, and 19 proposed SMEs have been reviewed and approved by WPDI and its partners for funding opportunities and support.

Driven by building healthy and fruitful relationships with international NGOs, the Western Union Foundation is dedicated to ensuring a positive impact and making a genuine difference to people’s lives.

EBRD supports humanitarian relief operations

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plays a leading role in helping alleviate the struggles of refugees via investment in infrastructure to reduce strain on public services. They invest in municipal infrastructure to support critical improvements and to adapt the services to the increased demand in refugee-hosting communities.

EBRD also invests to increase employment opportunities through finance and advice to small businesses, and offers inclusion programmes to facilitate economic participation through skill mapping and training, especially for young people and women.

With a strong focus on economic inclusion and gender, the Bank aims to to enhance access to better skills, formal employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. They work to increase the quality of local training based on employers’ skills requirements, create opportunities for skills verification, and support the creation of better knowledge about the impact of the refugee crisis on all parts of the community. Recognising that refugee women find additional barriers to their social and economic integration, the Bank aims to implement women-targeted interventions to support their access to employment, entrepreneurship and basic services.

On World Refugee Day consider a career change for the better

Inspired by the work of dedicated women and organizations like UNHCR, Western Union and the EBRD?

Why not consider a meaningful career change with purpose though making a genuine difference to the lives of others. Search and apply for jobs with UNHCR, Western Union and the EBRD today, and be the change you want to see in the world.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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