Financial Integration of Refugees in Dallas, Texas

By Julie Zollmann, Airokhsh Faiz-Qaisary, Kenza Ben-Azouz, Kim Wilson, and Radha Rajkotia. Refugees resettled in the United States are typically supported quite closely early in their transition as support agencies help them settle into new homes, open bank accounts, get their first jobs, and register their children in school. Agencies monitor whether refugees are “self-sufficient,” meaning that their incomes cover their most essential expenses as quickly as possible. However, little is known about the next stage of refugees’ financial and economic transitions, once refugees are no longer interacting regularly with resettlement agencies. In July 2018, we interviewed 29 refugees who had been resettled two to three years earlier to understand the phases of their financial transition and identify possible opportunities to accelerate refugees’ financial gains.

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“I’m the Everything”: The Overlooked Heroism of Refugee Youth in the United States

By Julie Zollmann. Nine voluntary agencies have the official responsibility for resettling refugees into communities throughout the United States. They find their clients new housing, schools, and jobs. They help them get social security numbers and open bank accounts. They play an indispensable role in helping refugees settle into their new homes. But the work of integration, of truly building a life in a new country with a new language, new transportation system, new labor market, and a whole new set of social norms is a much bigger job, one that in many families is being done stoically, even heroically, by young refugees in their teens and early twenties.

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In Adjusting to New Labor Markets, Migrants Draw on Past Experience and Retain a Strong Sense of Pride in Being Able to Contribute

By Conor Sanchez, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Popular notions of migrants as unskilled or uneducated laborers, while sometimes true, are often false. Their jobs back home may not have always ensured adequate income, a factor that could have played a role in their decision to migrate, but they often required some technical knowledge or training. Our subjects had worked as photographers, teachers, accountants, sociologists, and business owners. Some were property owners, tending to farms and livestock or selling various kinds of merchandise out of their home. In many of the interviews, it also became apparent that these jobs had clearly formed an unshakeable part of their identity.

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The Impact of Volunteer Employment on Migrant Outcomes: Ugandan Perspective

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Formal employment opportunities are limited in Uganda’s economy, especially for migrants and refugees. Considering these barriers, “volunteer” jobs represent a crucial vehicle for migrants to gain new skills, build their networks, gain access to future opportunities, and even earn reasonable wages. This essay seeks to show the importance of volunteer positions for migrants, how these opportunities differ between Kampala and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, and whether these volunteer opportunities are privileging specific demographic groups.

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Origins and Outcomes: Migrant Integration in Uganda

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
In the United States, the postal code of one’s birthplace predicts more about one’s future than nearly any other factor. While interviewing refugees in Kampala and Bidi Bidi Camp, I found a parallel observation in which specific details of a refugee’s origin could predict their outcomes, particularly economic and locational outcomes. Refugees from similar places of origin tend to settle in similar locales. While this finding may be obvious to refugees and development organizations, the deterministic elements of a refugee’s place of origin do not seem to influence programming in the Uganda refugee context.

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Shifting Roles in Refugee Livelihoods

By Catherine Wanjala, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
During displacement, families are jolted into new realities. From navigating new foods and new educational opportunities to negotiating a maze of new customs, displaced households struggle to master their unfamiliar surroundings. Opportunities to earn a living also greatly differed from what refugees and migrants had available to them in their countries of origin. Refugees often found these new realities also shifted roles within the family.

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Economic Integration

This video draws on a case study of Uganda, where refugees move from their early arrival phase to coping long term with economic opportunities and set-backs. The information draws on Fletcher research in Uganda.

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