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Emmanuel’s Story: Online learning, remote internships and employment create hope and new pathways

Emmanuel is an SNHU Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) student turned staff member, who leveraged his education and internship into gainful employment. He now works as part of our team, enabling others displaced like himself to transform their lives by accessing remote employment opportunities. He shared his journey with us:

In a refugee camp, the only way to describe life is “tough.” Living as a refugee isn’t easy and survival requires more effort than life elsewhere normally would. But the greatest challenge is to maintain hope that your situation will improve – and that you can continue to overcome the obstacles life in the camp brings.

My colleagues and I here in Dzaleka are committed to transcending the limitations of our refugee status and finding creative ways to access the rights we deserve. Here in Malawi, refugees do not have the right to freely work or attend public school. As the oldest child in my family, I have a responsibility to pave the way for my younger siblings to receive an education and have meaningful employment. For me, the possibility lies online. Through the internet I was able to attend university, and through remote work I can earn a living.

I am currently enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM), pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management with a concentration in logistics and operations.

By providing us with tools for self-reliance, SNHU GEM’s higher education program for refugees and others affected by displacement has made it possible for disadvantaged students to navigate the most challenging aspects of refugee life. The program emphasizes gaining hands-on work experience through internships. I completed a three-month remote internship as an SNHU GEM Employment Intern and was soon promoted to a full-time role. My career achievements highlight the efficacy of the innovative competency and project-based learning model.

In my current work, I actively pursue socioeconomic support networks for refugees and members of host communities with international employers such as Shipra Kayan, Conversations Unbound, IDInsight and many more. I am helping to establish networks that allow other refugees to put their degrees to use and support important causes and their communities.

Despite the barriers, we are showing how refugees can still engage and have a positive impact on the local economy as an important link to international employers. My peers and I are pursuing remote work to become self-reliant and thus contribute to the Malawian market. I hope that one day when Malawi lightens restrictions on the rights of refugees to work in the local economy, I will be able to take the skills I have learned online and invest in businesses and organizations here in Malawi.

Access to this remote work has uplifted many refugees in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. I believe that this innovative employment pathway is a solution to the limited access to sustainable livelihoods and the lack of needed professional skills in my community.

Since I joined SNHU GEM in mid-July 2019, I’ve transitioned into an individual with innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to all the challenges life throws at me. I’ve established digital and remote-based networks and the skills that have catapulted me beyond the dependent life my refugee status had pre-determined for me. I am honored to be a trailblazer in this mission.

You can help SNHU GEM create transformative outcomes for other displaced learners like Emmanuel by bringing on interns or becoming an employment partner. Interested in learning more? Send us an email at geminternships@snhu.edu.