Refugee Stories

EUGèNE VAN DEN HEMEL Rotterdam, Netherlands

Don't be eye candy. Be soul food.

I don’t believe in coincidence. It is not without reason that these words come to you. Perhaps you will immediately know why, perhaps also, this is still hidden somewhere in the unconscious and you discover this at a moment between now and ever.

When I quit my job in 2010, I also said goodbye to the fat BMW, the dinners in Michelin-star restaurants with customers, an excellent salary, ditto bonus scheme and great incentives.

I started working with people who seem to be lagging behind in the labor market. Former prisoners, the elderly, young people without a basic qualification, former prostitutes. What a diversity of people, a wealth of experience and a source of talent. They had (and unfortunately often still have) one thing in common: they are hardly or not seen and heard within the labor market.

Since 2015 I have been surprising employers with talent and professionals with a refugee background. I was allowed to work with and for people from Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Eritrea, Iran, Sudan, Tibet, China.

In the meantime, I have seen hundreds of professionals with a refugee background not only find a job, but also see significant steps in their new career.

I am still amazed every day that many employers do not yet find it easy to shape their desire for a diverse and inclusive labor market.

I feel blessed to be part of this global community and movement and be able to inspire employers and jobseekers to create change, impact and perspectives together.

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