UNHCR rewards 107 companies that have hired refugees: "They are doctors, teachers, workers, chefs, athletes. Their inclusion is good for everyone"

Syed Nasim Khaliq was the Minister of Urban Development of Afghanistan. With the arrival of the Taliban, he was forced to leave his country in 2021. Not only his land but “my friends, my colleagues and all my memories, I had lost all my dreams”, says the architect and manager who spoke on behalf of all the refugees in the Protomoteca room in the Campidoglio. in UNHCR’s “Welcome. Working for Refugee Integration” program.

The United Nations Agency, which wants to open an integration hub in Rome precisely to reach those who are refugees in the capital, has awarded 107 companies that in the two-year period 2020-2021 have trained and hired people with a personal history devastated by wars like that by Khaliq who now works at Archliving.

Like the former Afghan Deputy Minister, there are another 10,000 refugees who have been integrated into the world of work by UNHCR since 2017, 6,000 in the last two years.

Born 5 years ago as an award to companies that hire refugees, today “Welcome. Working for Refugee Integration” is a broad program that includes training and accompaniment to companies and labor market operators who intend to hire refugees.

It is an example of this Federica Ferrini who deals with human resources for the Leroy Merlin store in Laurentina. In 2017 he worked in the Tiburtina office and after the partnership with Caritas, collaborations with the Roman centers of the Integration Reception System (Sai) began. Up to the award received by UNHCR which for Ferrini represents one more motivation to continue on the path of integration.

“There were also problems with those who could not recognize the female manager or those who prayed in the middle of working hours – she says – but then a give and take was created, a sense of community and belonging”. Thus the Afghan boy followed by the psychotherapists who could not even look us in the eye “today he is a sales advisor loved by customers”. Like another worker, who escaped from Africa and who after 5 years without his family wanted to leave everything. With the help of the company, the request for reunification started.

The spokesperson for Unhcr Italia Chiara Cardoletti explains that “refugees are doctors, teachers, workers, farmers, engineers, chefs, athletes, traders, artists. Through work they reacquire and strengthen their social capital as active subjects who can determine their own existence and at the same time their own inclusion generates positive and generative economic development for the benefit of the whole community “.

To strengthen the program, UNHCR wants to open integration hubs to which refugees can refer “to be recognized by us and start the path of integration through work – explains Cardoletti – We are discussing with the councilor for social policies Barbara Funari to open one also in Rome “.

For the mayor’s delegate at the reception, Marco Paciotti, the issue of integration must also be addressed in the light of the Ukrainian emergency “no longer as an emergency, but in a structural way”. Also present at the award ceremony was the Minister of Labor Andrea Orlando who highlighted the opportunities and problems of migration. The latter “politics must not ride them but manage them. The direct involvement of social and entrepreneurial subjects is the strong point of this project.

Integration – added the minister – cannot be lowered from above but politics must do its part and this is what we tried to build a month ago together with Minister Lamorgese with a memorandum of understanding between building builders and trade unions to accompany 3 thousand asylum seekers and refugees to work “.

Among the 107 companies that have been awarded, 35 are large companies such as Barilla, Carrefour, Decathlon, Gucci, Ikea, Leroy Merlin, Mutti, Nespresso, Reale Mutua. The project is supported by the Ministry of Labor, Confindustria and the Global Compact Network and also makes use of the support of the Tent Foundation and the European Commission.

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