Imagine living in a country where you are not allowed to work, can’t open a bank account and your education is not recognized. This is a snapshot of a refugee’s situation in host countries, which is most cases leads them to take on informal jobs for less than the minimum wage.
Lorraine Charles, a researcher in Cambridge University saw the problem and recognized that remote work can be an alternative for refugees trying to earn their living, she established Na’amal an organization that helps refugees get the skills needed to work remotely and connects them with employers.
Remote work has become an integral part of today’s work environment. Most companies are offering either hybrid or remote options, insurance companies are creating special travel and medical packages for nomads and remote workers (e.g. SafetyWing) and home offices and co-working spaces have largely replaced traditional offices.
“Most companies are having a hard time finding diverse talent, but refugees are usually excluded from the process” Lorraine said.
She added that companies are hesitant to hire refugees, because they don’t know if they have the skills they say they do, their degrees are not recognized, and they usually have interrupted education, or informal learning.
Many people get jobs through their social circles, refugees are excluded from that, as they don’t have the exposure that would allow them to be seen by companies. Also, it is very expensive to train refugees who don’t have access to knowledge and equipment like other learners, so for programs that have a cost per learner, refugees are usually excluded.
That’s why Na’mal was born. It trains refugees for jobs that have high demand like software development, UI/UX design, artificial intelligence and Cybersecurity. They also lean soft skills that will help land a remote job.
As an organization, Na’amal is working on getting more funding, more companies on board to hire trained refugees and more mentors that can help refugees learn the needed skills.
This is where digital nomads come in.
Lorraine advises digital nomads to recognize their privilege in leading this lifestyle, and recognizing that it’s important to share your skills and knowledge with someone who can’t as easily access this lifestyle, so he can work remotely like you.
Na’amal has a training program through which digital nomads can train refugees to help them get a remote job.