Refugee Empowerment Platform

Refugees are employed by a blogging website to share their stories and empower their community.

Photo of Harshika

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

06/24/2001

Where are you located:

8301 Skyridge Dr. Plano, TX 75025

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Facebook: @harryjha

Date Started

05/30/17

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I am a 16-year-old high school student from Plano, TX who is dedicated to serving the refugee community. The journey started as a friend of mine invited me to an event in celebration of World Refugee Day at the Northwest Community Center in Dallas. Meeting and conversing with these refugees was a wonderful experience and it also made me realize that the skills these individuals possess are not being exhibited because of various limitations. When talking to one refugee, they stated that they weren't financially able to pay for lunch at the workplace which led to a decrease in performance. Their current employment status was not revealed, but food should never be a limitation. Seeing my parents, initially, immigrants, adjust themselves to a new environment when arriving in America helped me understand a small portion of what the refugees go through here.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I am trying to solve the problem that many refugees don't have a platform to voice out their concerns-- food, assimilation, and language.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We plan to open a blogging platform for refugees to voice out their concerns, only with their permission. We are also trying to create an educational and career-focused platform that will help the community obtain jobs based on their skill set and partner with a community college for those who don’t have certain skills.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

A refugee would go to our website, https://www.youngmindswithpurpose.org/, click on services and fill out the designated form for a certain service that they are interested in, and then send an email to refugeecareinitiative@gmail.com voicing what they are interested in. If they picked a career help option, then we would provide them with educational resources as well as a course (if needed) paid by a community college. If they picked a blogging platform, then we train them in the English language (if needed), and we employ them.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

I started volunteering at local organizations, and what I found unsatisfactory was the lack of voice-- we simply provided refugees with the basic needs and that's it. People in our own community still didn’t understand the issue, and I wanted to spread awareness. I knew I couldn’t spread awareness by simply volunteering, so I thought of starting a campaign which turned into an organization today.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We have partnered with an International Alliance and an agency to sponsor refugee children and adults-- this is how we receive clients--about 100-200 to date. The blogging platform is not established yet, but career and educational have. Additionally, we have helped families assimilate by providing them food and nutrition characteristic to their country. We helped sponsor a refugee child going through experimental brain surgery -- the process is still in progress.

We have forms that ask refugee clients what we can do better, and how to better help them.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Apps-to help navigate refugees through an educational and financial plan
Drones- drone technology create UAVS and this can deliver packages, and also capture footage of the conditions, so we can take our next steps based on that. These low cause effective ability to fly can help authorities analyze damage, and this can be beneficial especially in chaotic environments.
Algorithm- can be used to locate refugees resettlement and vastly improve our probability of finding work, and proportional distribution

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We would need a space as well as increased funding in order to keep the nonprofit going.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

We are trying to partner with Girls Who Code, to provide basic technologies to help refugees learn how to code for future high-paying jobs. We have partnered with few international alliances and agencies to gain more clients and funding.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs

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10 comments

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Photo of Selma N
Team

Your project sounds amazing and has a lot of potential! My project RISE (Refugee International Support Effort) is working towards distributing creative outlet items throughout refugee camps in order to instill hope and mental well being. Through our services, we could truly make a large impact on refugee communities both near and far. We should definitely collaborate sometime!

Photo of Harshika
Team

Sure! Go ahead and send an email to refugeecareinitiative@gmail.com and we will talk about some collaborations.. I can’t wait!!

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