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Finding Work is Possible

Estimated Time to Completion: 

30 minutes

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Meet Fatima

Fleeing Daraa

In 2013, Fatima abandoned her home in Daraa, traveling 60 miles south to Amman—Jordan's capital by the border. Indiscriminate bombing, shelling, and airstrikes began tearing through Daraa, leaving the birthplace of the revolution an open air grave. Fatima took all of the money she had—500 Jordanian dinars—an overnight bag, and her five children with her.

Finding Work in Amman

Once she settled in Amman and began looking for work, Fatima was met with restrictive Jordanian labor laws controlling how refugees are to earn an income—irrespective of expertise, education, and work experience. Limited work permits make employment difficult to secure, and employer sponsorship is required. The few jobs that are permitted tend to be in agriculture, construction, and hospitality, where the wages are low and work is physically demanding.

Developing Her Business

She knew she would have to start small, working within her own home. She knew she could make and sell stuffed kibbeh. Now, Fatima develops recipes. She first started selling jars of makdous door-to-door, but the income wasn’t enough to keep her afloat, let alone expand. When she learned from her neighbors about CARE, a nonprofit organization and community center that had a financial assistance program and small business grant for refugees, Fatima was accepted into both.

Finding Her Niche

Everything she knew went into perfecting her stuffed kibbeh, which is typically composed of ground meat, spices, and bulgur wheat formed into an oval and deep fried. It’s a popular mezze dish across the Levant and despite its ubiquity, Fatima felt she could make it her own. She’s one of the few artisans who makes vegetarian kibbeh—exchanging lamb for peas, potatoes, and carrots—something she started tinkering with after receiving requests for vegetarian food during Lent and other meatless holidays. Now, it’s her niche product. She began hosting free trainings in her home and at CARE centers for other aspiring businesswomen. Some brought plans for Arabic desserts, while others wanted to make intricate hand-engraved chocolates.  At 50 years old, Fatima runs her own successful business! 

Read the full story at Food52 Blog

Meet Kanyi


He is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist based in New York. He was born in Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, during apartheid. To escape this life-threatening environment, his family moved to the United States as refugees in 1986. After arriving in the U.S., he and his parents lived in a homeless shelter and were on food stamps until his mother got a job as an ESL teacher at Fashion Institute of Technology, and his father got a job as a cashier and coat checker at the Museum of Natural History.

Going into Venture Capital

In 2014, Kanyi and co-founder Steve Jang, raised $56 million to create Kindred Ventures. The fund has invested in over 40 companies worldwide. Previous Kindred Ventures investments count companies like Uber, Coinbase, and Virgin Hyperloop One. Kanyi is also the co-founder of Heartbeat Health — a platform that invites patients who are at risk of heart disease and other chronic ailments to talk remotely with experts for care management.

Read the full story here


There is no project for this lesson.


In the next lesson, we will be listing a number of organizations that provide special employment services to refugees. Hopefully this will help you in your job search!

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