Empowered Afghan Refugees Present Their Achievements

Fatemeh and Hassan are representatives from the Afghan refugee community in Iran. In celebration of World Refugee Day they had a chance to advertise the achievements of Afghans in Iran in cooperation with Danish Refugee Council.

From Iran 

Fatemeh is 30 years old and born in Iran. She resides in Saveh City, Markazi Province. Since her father died several years ago, she has been the head of her household. Fatemeh has a highschool diploma, and in 2013 she attended training courses in beauty, cosmetics, and business skills. These courses were implemented jointly by Danish Refugee Council and the Iranian Technical and Vocational Training Organization (TVTO), and were funded by the European Commission and the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO).

Hassan is 23 years old and was also born in Iran. He is a sophomore in English Literature at Arak University, Markazi Province. Hassan is the main breadwinner of his family, because his father had a stroke several years ago and was incapacitated. After attending FFO-funded business-skills training courses, Hassan established his own construction company, which now specializes in decorative stonemasonry. The construction company has flourished, and Hassan now works with his younger brothers in the family business.

On World Refugee Day in Tehran on June 26 and 27, 2014, Fatemeh and Hassan presented the livelihoods work of DRC at a Refugee Fair at Milad Tower, since they had both participated in DRC’s vocational- and business-skills training courses in 2013.

“Vocational training can really help to enhance one’s career opportunities, improve one’s self-confidence, and contribute to raising the economic well-being of the trainee’s family,” Hassan says.

Being the role models of empowered Afghan refugees in Iran, Fatemeh and Hassan interacted confidently with the general public during the Refugee Fair. They both described their everyday life as Afghan refugees, the current hardships that their families were facing, and their success stories following the training courses that they had received. They shared information about DRC training opportunities with the Afghan men and women who had come to visit the Refugee Fair. Journalists, academics, and the general public were highly intrigued by their stories, and representatives from NGOs and from foreign embassies used the opportunity to ask Fatemeh and Hassan more technical questions, such as the utility and long-term sustainability of the vocational trainings.

Fatemeh and Hassan also presented posters, brochures, and documentary slides of DRC’s projects in Iran, and displayed samples of the handicrafts that had been made by the trainees.

“The participation in the Refugee Fair has been an excellent opportunity to improve my self-confidence in interacting with the general public, and to represent an international humanitarian organization for two days,” Fatemeh says.

The fair was commemorated by Danish Refugee Council Iran, together with Iranian governmental organizations, UN agencies, and international and local NGOs.