When Sufyan was in college, he wanted to get a job. His IT skills were good, but he wasn’t receiving offers. Frustrated, he heard about our program to teach the technical and interpersonal skills necessary to flourish in today’s job market, from one of his friends. Intrigued, he decided to find out more. After undergoing the vetting process, Sufyan was placed in Advanced IT, where he studied web design, accounting, and English. Soon Sufyan was building websites on WordPress and teaching his little brother how to design too. He excelled in his second course, which focused on business freelancing: making business plans and project creation, planning, and evaluation, and report writing, but Sufyan was eager to work. Then, COVID-19 hit and slowed the world economy, yet Sufyan was undeterred. He knows how to stand up to adversity.
Sufyan lives in Sinjar, the site of ISIS’s genocidal attack against the Yazidi people in 2014. He and his family fled to the mountains, where they stayed for ten days. He recounts these days as the worst days of his life. The nights were very cold and they had to sleep on the ground. They escaped to Dohuk, where they stayed until ISIS was driven out of Sinjar. When they returned to their town, they discovered that ISIS had destroyed most of the infrastructure: houses, schools, hospitals, and roads. There was so much work to be done, and Sufyan was keen to start.
Sufyan filled out job applications, but he didn’t realize his applications were not “professional.” “I didn’t know how to write a CV.” During his courses, he not only learned how to write a professional cover letter and resume, but he also mastered how to pass the written tests required by some employers, and how to showcase his strengths and skills during a job interview. He finished his classes through one of our tech hubs last August, and on September 16, 2021, he started his first job as a livelihood technician for an international non-governmental organization (NGO).
What Sufyan had learned in his business freelancing class applied directly to his new role. In teaching people in Sinjar how to create livelihoods by rehabilitating and making new projects for themselves, he taught them how to make business plans, plan projects, assess projects before he authorized small grants for them to start their businesses.
One month later, Sufyan found a better job working as a project officer with a different NGO engaged with civil society. Two jobs in just two months! He likes his new role saying, “This job is better to improve job skills and connections.” He has more responsibility, tasked with report writing, a skill he learned through our program. “Report-making is the most important thing I learned.” He is a project manager, creating weekly plans for different project phases, and evaluates progress through weekly and monthly report writing. His ability to project manage was honed through our program, where he learned how to prioritize his time and tasks.
Sufyan’s best memory of our program started with his first day of class. “Every staff member was there. It was a happy day. Staff members explained the course. They encouraged us.” Although he took his classes online, he felt as though all the participants were “together in the same room.” He added, “people were really friendly. I felt comfortable.” His experience showed him how to succeed in online learning, which he continues to practice as he hones his skills with different online classes. He is excited to keep learning and growing professionally because our program taught him how.
Our tech programs set up young Iraqi and Syrian people displaced by war and violence for future job growth and success. Business and soft skills training can pave the way forward in the wake of violence. Your investment now invests in this generation’s future.