WHY did we embark on this project?

Too often, female refugees don’t get the opportunities they deserve. In terms of employment, the focus tends to be on men. As a result, women run the risk of becoming isolated, both socially and economically. 

United Way the Netherlands wants to do something about this. That is why we joined forces with Netwerkpro, an organization that strives to improve the professional position in the Netherlands of women who need help in this respect. 

WHAT does the project entail?

Educational courses leading to employment are clearly the way to empower women on their way to independence. Under the motto Control your Future we help them muster their talents, courage and determination, increasing their visibility in the Dutch labour market. Thanks to Netwerkpro, we are able to connect with a network of eligible women eager to break into the job market. We take care of the funding, content, coordination and evaluation of the project, while Netwerkpro takes responsibility for its implementation. Other partners, such as Boost Amsterdam, Dress for Success and Paula’s Choice Skincare have contributed facilities and services aimed at improving the participants’ appearance, confidence and motivation, and therefore their employability. 

WHAT RESULTS have we achieved so far?

​In the course of a four-month programme, the initial group of 16 women attended language courses, workshops and training sessions teaching them, for example, to write a resume and present themselves at a job interview. A personal mentor, carefully selected for compatibility, worked with each of the women to help them overcome obstacles and choose a suitable employment field, for example in the healthcare, education or hospitality sector.

At a festive gathering, 13 women, nationals of six countries, received their certificates. A quantitative survey shows that at that point in time almost 40 percent of them had found paid work. A third were active as interns and volunteers, while 12 percent were following training courses. 

HOW do the participants look back on the programme?

The fact that the women described themselves as happier than before and expressed their gratitude for the training and networking opportunities made available speaks for itself.

Mentor Roos Gerritsen (right), a former participant in Empowering Women Refugees, celebrates with Asnat, her mentee, who upon finishing the programme was offered an internship at the HEMA department store.

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