Each year, hundreds of refugees bring new energy, talent, and ideas to our communities. But, more often than not, they get stuck in cycles of poverty. Even after 5 years of residence in the United States, 45% of refugees remain unemployed, and only 8% make a living hourly wage. For refugee women, rates of unemployment are twice as high. Poor access to services, limited literacy, and discrimination all contribute to cycles of poverty and social marginalization. While steady, reliable employment is the surest pathway out of poverty for working class people in the United States, this pathway remains inaccessible to refugees due to a number of barriers.
That is why both economic and political power remain out of reach for many immigrants and refugees, instead of empowering all of us and making for stronger and more just communities.
Poor Employer Education
The Havenly Fellowship
In March 2018, we founded a bakery that doubles a job training program.
Our flagship 6-month fellowship allows trainees to earn while they learn, gaining work experience while also attending rigorous educational workshops and developing crucial skills and connections for future employment. Fellows are paid $15 for every hour in the program thanks to the sales of our delicious treats.
Our Transformational Leadership Program aims to provide refugee and immigrant women with the skills and networks they need to lead social change and advocate in their communities.
Our program is two-fold. On the one hand, we are committed to creating opportunities for refugee women to access positions of administrative leadership, both in our organization and beyond. On the other, we have developed a three-step approach to leadership development both during after our Havenly fellowship.
Nieda, Caterina, Ben and Alessandro founded Havenly Treats in March 2018 with a mission to support immigrant communities in New Haven by redirecting resources from Yale to the community. Our head chef, Nieda, was resettled to New Haven, CT from Baghdad 5 years ago. In Iraq, she ran a bakery and two convenience stores. But in New Haven, she struggled to even land a normal job, barely supporting her family through cash assistance and food stamps. Poor English, limited literacy, and no social networks make it extremely challenging for refugees in our communities to access the same opportunities we do. Often, refugees choose underpaid jobs over education, getting stuck in cycles of poverty and unemployment. That is why we partnered with Nieda to launch a bakery that could equip refugee women with the skills they need to succeed in the food industry, while also earning an income.