Job Fair Helps Afghan Refugees Achieve Better Livelihoods in DC Area – NBC4 Washington

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On Saturday, a job fair for immigrants from Afghanistan to the DC area was held at the Tysons Corner Center in Virginia.

Job seekers like 21-year-old Mohammad Fasih Yaqoobi had the chance to meet more than 30 employers recruiting for positions at all skill levels.

In Yaqoobi’s case, the fair represented an opportunity to provide for his family, who have already lived a lifetime in unimaginable circumstances.

Yaqoobi’s father died when he was 11, “and I also lost my brother about seven years ago in Afghanistan”, he said.

He and his mother, three brothers and a younger sister left their home country on foot, and the trip was anything but easy.

Yaqoobi explained how he carried his sister, who has “two different illnesses, and now she has cancer.”

With the help of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the family finally made it to the United States, but the trials continue.

“I have to take care of them. It’s so hard for me, it’s so hard,” he said. “I’m here to see if I can find another job, a little more important.

Yaqoobi was one of hundreds of Afghan refugees seeking better work and a better life at this weekend’s job fair at the Hyatt Regency in Tysons Corner.

Currently he has a job that barely pays the rent – ​​but that could change after this fair.

“We had 30% of people who came in yesterday with jobs,” said REACT DC CEO Amy Marden.

Candidates are college professors, engineers, drivers and maintenance professionals.

“Just because someone is starting over in a new country, [it] that doesn’t mean they don’t bring a wealth of training and education experience,” said Melissa Diamond of Talent Beyond Boundaries.

The groups behind the fair also help bridge any cultural chasms that may exist.

“The whole process will be for them to fulfill the American dream that I had, because I am an immigrant refugee myself,” said Nila Latif of the American Refugee Crisis Committee.

They estimate that since last August, 7,000 new immigrants have settled in Northern Virginia alone. Efforts like this ease the burden on a 21-year-old family patriarch like Yaqoobi.

“I have hope. I have hope,” Yaqoobi said through a smile. “In about a year, or two years, or three years, but hopefully…we we’ll see a good day come.”

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