Ministry Center Vocational Training Changes Refugees’ Lives

At Send Relief’s Boston Ministry Center, one of our three main focuses is called the Geneva Initiative, a program designed to mobilize churches to support refugees and to connect international families with opportunities in their new home country.

As a part of this program, the center started offering a VeroSkills technical course to train newly arrived refugees in software engineering, so that they could build their resumes and find sustainable sources of income quickly.

A woman from Afghanistan named Airokhsh was the first to be accepted into this technology cohort.

Airokhsh commented on the VeroSkills class, “I am an asylee and am very interested in coding. There are few women in this sector of work in our Afghan community, and we need to change this status quo. Unfortunately, I am unemployed right now and do not have a reliable computer, but this program gives me the opportunity to learn a new skill. I am passionate about learning this!”

Another participant, Erics, was referred to us by a sister in Christ working at a veterans assistance program located down the street from the ministry center. He has been paired with a member of a Send Network church plant, King’s Hill Church, in Boston for mentorship and will be meeting for their first check-in this month! Erics shared his excitement for the program below:

“I have always been super tech savvy and can generally find my way around anything involving it. Before the pandemic, I was an executive kitchen chef. Fearing what would become of the hospitality industry, I found that it was the perfect time to pursue my hobby and turn it into a career, as it has become one of the most—if not the most—sought-out industries in need of positions to fill. The past three years have been rough, and I have yet to get my foot in the door and acquire the knowledge and skillsets needed to move forward. I would love to learn everything there is to offer in this course!”

A former medical student in Afghanistan, Lala, is another friend of Airokhsh who currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida. We reached out to Chets Creek Church to see if they were interested in being an extension of our program and appointing someone to serve as a mentor for Lala throughout the duration of her program. A congregant named Rebecca agreed to be the point of contact for Lala, and today, the program has provided her with an opportunity to pursue a new career path and provide for herself as she starts a new life.

Lala shared, “I came to the United States last year from Afghanistan after my fourth year of medical school. Unfortunately, I am not able to pursue that anymore because of a lack of finances and my many responsibilities to my family here. I told Airokhsh that I was interested in computer science and medicine and that when I took the university entrance exam, I was enrolled in medical school automatically based on my score. Airokhsh told me about the tech program, and I’m hopeful for this chance!”

Jahantab was referred to us by Airokhsh as well, and at first, we wanted the cohort to be local so that we could invite people to the center and foster a local community.

However, we quickly learned that refugees and asylees are often moving to be closer to their families or to find better job opportunities and housing. Jahantab and her husband live in Quebec now but were originally trying to move to Toronto. This was a great opportunity to connect the couple to our Send Relief Toronto team, who agreed to be an extension of the program as a result. Jahantab was so grateful to receive a laptop from the staff there, and we were thankful to see God work through the Send Relief network across countries’ borders!

Your gifts are make life-changing programs like this possible, leaving an eternal legacy in the lives of refugee families across the globe. If you would like to donate to create more job skills trainings, give here today.

Published November 30, 2023