“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”
Today is bittersweet day for me. As we celebrate the process of hiring the first US refugee employee for Liberti, the difficult journeys each one of these applicants has experienced coming to America becomes apparent. I am also struck by the levels of experience and education many of these people bring to the US, only to find an entry level minimum wage job or no job at all. Despite these humbling difficulties, I am inspired by their cheerful and proud work employment history with descriptions such as “working with a team to provide fast service”, to “maintaining a pristine store by cleaning floors, shelves, and the restrooms each morning”. i am honored by their interest in working with Liberti, and I look forward to providing apprenticeship opportunities for a career path in America.
Our first applicant comes from Eritrea, Africa’s second-newest state that came into being in 1991, when the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) broke away from Ethiopia after three decades of guerrilla struggle. Today, five thousand Eritreans leave the country each month, making it one of the world's top producers of refugees.
Eritrea is considered one of the world's most closed countries, where those who have fled describe a long-standing system of forced labor, arbitrary arrest, disappearances, executions, and torture. Individuals who run afoul of the authorities are often held in harsh conditions in makeshift prisons with restrictions on internal movement and speech, with media controlled by the state.
Our second applicant comes from Kandahar, Afghanistan, the second largest city in Afghanistan. Kandahar is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, fresh fruit and tobacco and a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia. As with all wars, civilians pay the greatest price with the loss of communities, children who have been deprived of education, livelihoods have been damaged, and displaced families have been separated have been the losers. The problem is magnified for those families who provided support services to the US during the last war, who have lived in great danger after the US pulled out from the region in 2013.
Our applicant provided services to the US government in addition to being a English teacher for displaced children in camps and a nurse to help aid the sick and wounded. She also has a computer science diploma and describes herself as having a “strong work ethic, detailed oriented and reliable.”
Despite the current economic, political, and social challenges in the US today, may we never take for granted our freedoms such as faith, speech or control of the media. I am so thankful that we have an opportunity to empower these refugees to be free to live the dream. Stay tuned for details on the other 5 applicants coming soon.....