For the first time in the last five years, hope is returning to refugee resettlement. Discriminatory policies and bans have been lifted, the refugee cap has expanded ten-fold, and families are arriving every week, including Afghan evacuees. Our New American Integration department is rapidly expanding to meet these positive trends. With the help of your generous gift, our organization can be equipped to rise to this new era of resettlement, one rooted in welcoming and development.
Learn more about Mirvet and her impact at IIB below!
Mirvet, ONA Job Coach at The International Institute of Buffalo
Certified Pharmacy Technician in the U.S. – Civil Engineer degree in Iraq.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to Buffalo?
“I’m originally from Baghdad Iraq, I arrived here in Buffalo in July 2012, so nine years ago. In Baghdad our lives were threatened because my husband was working with the U.S. army so we had to leave, we didn’t have a choice. But I have three children so I am grateful to be here and I am grateful to have given them the opportunity to live a better life.”
Can you explain to us your position at the Institute of Buffalo?
“I started working with the International Institute of Buffalo as an Arabic Interpreter and saw the Job Coach position opened, so I applied and got it! Now I work on the ONA Professional Pathways program, this program is designated for people who already have a degree or experience from a different country, so we can help them restart their career here. We help them build a resume, cover letter, become aware of cultural barriers and give them a start so their skills can be valuable to the U.S.
Right now I am focusing on matching up employers with refugees and spreading the word about the program.”
What inspired you to become a job coach?
“I just want to work with newcomers, work with refugees and immigrants because I had that experience and I know exactly what people feel when they come to a new country, especially the U.S. which is totally different than their homes. Being a person who has the same experience, I probably can be helpful in ways others who didn’t have the experience can’t.
Plus when newcomers see someone who came from the same circumstances helping them, they are going to feel more confident to say, “hey you know what I’m talking about and you know how I feel,” so they are going to feel more supported.”
What is your favorite part of your role?
“Meeting people especially those who need help starting their new career, I am really excited to give them that hope and help put them on the right path, is my favorite part. The program is still new, but recently I helped someone find the right program for them, she was looking to work in a pharmacy and I helped her to find a technician program. She has now been accepted and will start the program next January!”
What services do you want to see grow at the Institute?
“For this program, I’d love for us to be able to offer more courses and trainings. Things like language classes and more classes about cultural differences, especially the different laws that refugees don’t always learn about. I think we could benefit from a life course.”
Is there anything else you want to tell our community?
The community can help us by funding these programs and also by giving refugees the opportunity, the chance to start here and give them the support and patience to succeed. People should be aware of the challenges refugees face and understand that many refugees had higher degrees in their home countries.”
Learn about all the services we offer to our community and know without your support we will not be able to do the services that we are doing now.”
Your Gift Will Empower The Next Generation of New American Professionals Like Mirvet
Your gift to our Annual Fund will empower the next generation of New American professionals who are making our city a better place by:
- Helping us to advocate for the essential needs of our clients that make education and career exploration possible
- Funding our services that help New Americans find work such as our six-week Job Readiness Course and our English Learning Courses
- Expanding our Employment department to prepare for the influx of arrivals and increased employment needs
- Supporting our interpreting and translation departments that meet the language access needs for non-native English speakers, allowing them to fully participate in our programs
- Empowering the next generation of New American professionals who are making positive changes within our city, revitalizing our economy, and guiding the New Americans starting their lives in Buffalo