Stories: Garuka*

Meet the Local heros putting food on your table
WeWork partners with RefugeeOne to help refugees thrive

Although many refugees have lost employment in recent months, others continue working on the front lines to provide our communities with necessities during the pandemic.

Meet Garuka*, one of those heroes. Shortly after we welcomed her and her children from Rwanda in 2014, our employment team helped Garuka find a job at a food production facility, where she’s held the job ever since.

But she isn’t the only one in her family helping put food on our tables. Three of her children also work in food service industries.

You can imagine how challenging job searching is during COVID-19, but that didn’t stop Garuka’s daughter Mutesi from trying. In April, we helped her apply to a local food co-op walking distance from her home. She was hired just a few days later! She’s putting the money she earns towards college, where she’s studying nursing.

Her brother Mihigo has worked at another neighborhood grocer for years. He was initially told they weren’t hiring, but he returned often to inquire about new openings. He leveraged his ability to speak 5 languages as a benefit to the store, given the diverse neighborhood they work in. His persistence paid off and he was hired as a butcher.

Their sister Isaro is preparing to graduate high school. She’s helping with family expenses and saving for the future by working at a pizza joint, which gives her the flexible hours she needs to balance school and work.

As we all adjust to COVID-19, refugees like Garuka’s family are working hard to keep communities running—in food service, in healthcare, and everywhere in between.

*Names changed.

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