Help us support refugee employment and leadership

by Yusuf Ciftci in United Kingdom


£5,000 stretch target 4 days left
104% 19 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 5th July 2022 at 11:38am

We are creating a network of organisations and individuals to ensure leadership pathways for refugees and migrants in the migration sector

by Yusuf Ciftci in United Kingdom

New stretch target

We will hire a refugee coordinator to put the capacity in our outreach to organisations and refugees, so we amplify the efforts in creating an equitable employment process and pathways to lived experience leadership


Building a movement for refugee and migrant leadership

We are asking for your help to develop our voluntary project, Experts by Experience Initiative, to ensure two key aims: 

  • more refugees get the support they need when applying for jobs in our charities
  • more charities adopt inclusive and equitable recruitment processes for refugees

With your kind support, we could pay for our subscription fees to streamline the way we work with volunteer mentors and refugees and put more capacity to develop a movement for equitable recruitment in refugee and migrant charities.

This was just an idea, but through the support of Clore Social Leadership, TERN, Result CIC, Social Enterprise UK, and an incredible group of refugees and migrants and staff in the refugee charitable sector, it is becoming a movement now.1654260209_supporting_partner_logos.png

About myself...1652049552_untitled_(logo)_(1).png

I am Yusuf, a refugee working in a charity in the UK that supports migrants and refugees. I consider myself an expert by experience because what I experienced in the UK asylum system is valuable and should be at the forefront when designing a new service or campaigning against hostile immigration policies. Simply, refugees should speak for themselves, and they should be the leaders in the sector.

I have been very fortunate to embed my lived experience in what I do in my job, and I believe it is most useful when experts by experience are staff members of charities. Sadly, many refugees and migrants, even though they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience, are not offered a position in the sector. This is often because refugees are not familiar with the employment system, due to seeking safety and the complex asylum system they couldn't focus on building a CV, or due to dispersal policy, they don't have connections to friends and community who could offer to review their cover letter or job application.

My colleagues and I are calling for more equitable employment for refugees and migrants in our charities because if given the chance they can make incredible and diverse contributions to our charities, and they can design and lead their campaigns to improve the UK immigration system.

What I am doing? 1652049790_untitled_(logo)_(2).png

With incredible help from my advisory board which is mostly formed of refugees and migrants working in charities, I founded the Experts by Experience Initiative to help build a migration and asylum sector that is led by refugees and migrants and to ensure a representation of experts by experience of the asylum/migration at all levels of charities and across different roles and departments. We want to see:

  • more experts by experience will be successful in their job applications and enter the sector in paid roles.
  • staff who are experts by experience will progress their careers by moving into new roles and leadership positions.
  • charities will have more inclusive recruitment processes and will establish extra support to achieve equity when hiring refugees and migrants

Why does it matter?

We believe that refugees have the best insights to lead conversations, service design, campaigns, and policy initiatives about the asylum system, and the charitable sector should work more ‘with’ people, consult them, and offer them leadership opportunities. We believe that providing practical employment support and involving people with lived experience in the workforce is an important step toward this goal.

Many refugees and migrants are trying to build their lives in the UK and the 'hostile' nature of the UK immigration system makes it difficult for many people to fulfill their aspirations and progress in their careers. I also believe that the UK has played a historic role to welcome refugees for decades, with its close connections to the international community. Equally, we need to see a diversity of insights and inclusion of people who are at the receiving end of the policies in the leadership positions to lead the work and address the true needs of people.

Read what Miriam, a refugee we supported in her job application, thinks about our project: 

"I think this platform is awesome. The impact of being an asylum seeker is very real. It causes fear of the unknown and losing confidence.  I had the opportunity to meet with the mentor twice to first get a better understanding of my task and second to prepare for my interview. I can gladly confirm that I feel so confident and not underestimating myself.  It was great to meet someone that can encourage you and remind you that you can do it. A massive thank you for this wonderful initiative."


How will we achieve this?

Our initiative works to establish a movement of charitable organisations, salaried staff, volunteers, and experts by experience in the UK migrant and refugee sector who together create pathways to lived experience leadership. We are doing three things:

  • We invite charities to become a member of our network. We ask them to commit to following good practices in inclusive employment when they advertise and recruit for their roles. More than 20 charities already signed up! See below
  • We recruit volunteer mentors who are experienced staff members in the charity sector so that they can offer their practical advice to refugees and migrants in their job applications
  • We work meaningfully with refugees and migrants to fine-tune our guidance, good practice tips, and advice for organisations and other refugees about securing a role in the charity sector experts by experience.


Thank you in advance for your support!

You can volunteer  or sign up your organisation

Please share with your networks and contribute!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£50 or more

Get specific advice on equitable employment

We will offer a 1:1 advice session for hiring managers, directors, and HR in your charity to discuss how you can make your recruitment process equitable for refugees and migrants. We will also share our guidance and practical considerations when hiring refugees and migrants.

£20 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Special thank you note from our community

We will give you a unique thank you card with a special note from our experts by experience community

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