Friday, 05 June 2020

Refugee Siblings are Essential Workers

Written by Sint Sint Moe-Canode
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COVID-19 has been unprecedented event for all of us. While some of us have the option to work from home, essential workers cannot do this.
Many workers are still venturing into the uncertain environment to provide the products and services that our communities need. Refugees are largely employed in these essential jobs. Many refugees continue to work in retail stores, bakeries, food and paper manufacturing, meat packing, and textile and clothing manufacturing.

Refugees Come to Arizona

Giti and Mujtaba are two such refugees who are essential workers. These siblings arrived in Arizona in January 2020.  Both were willing to accept any kind of job to support themselves and their ill mother and little sister. Giti's mother taught her how to sew when she was about 8 years old. Later, Giti shared her sewing skills with her younger brother, Mujtaba.

By the time the family fled from Afghanistan to Iran in 2005, Giti and Mujtaba were already skilled enough to produce shirts and pants all on their own. Along with their aunt, the pair was able to make clothing for all their family members.

Refugees Contribute to the Community

When the family relocated to Turkey in 2013, Giti and Mujtaba both found work at a sewing factory. Together, they were responsible for sewing t-shirts and dress pants on a large scale. After living in Turkey for 5 years, the family finally arrived in the United States.
During their first intake assessment with their job developer, they both communicated their experience with tailoring and that they hoped to continue this career.
Shortly after they arrived in Arizona, Catholic Charities' employment team found sewing assistant jobs for them at Tyr Tactical, a company that produces military gear. The factory is currently making N95 masks and filters.
While many of us are working from home, Giti and Mujtaba go out to work every day. On 10-hour shifts, they contribute to the community with the skills that they have had since childhood.
Giti and Mujtaba are sad about the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are honored to use their sewing skills for making the masks that are needed in the community. They are very grateful to have a job during this time; it gives them a sense of security and purpose.
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Catholic Charities is committed to making reasonable accommodations to the special needs of individuals with disabilities meeting the eligibility requirements of all versions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so these persons have access to available employment opportunities and services. To contact us if you are deaf or hard of hearing, please dial 7-1-1 to access the free telecommunications relay service.