Refugees have so much talent and skill to offer society. We work with people who were accountants, lawyers, nurses and lecturers in their home countries. Yet here in the UK, they face constant barriers to finding employment. Refugees experience an unemployment rate five times greater than the national average and earn 55% less per week than any other workforce. Add to this a global pandemic and refugees today face a huge challenge.

The staff at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have the chance to change this by voting for Refugee Action to be your Charity of the Year 2021-2022. With your support, we will set up a ground-breaking project that will open up employment opportunities for over 400 refugees.

Hear from some of the people we have supported about why your vote is so important:

“You have the power to change lives.”

Cathy is 32 years old and lives in Greater Manchester, but is originally from Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, Cathy founded ‘Jewels in Africa’, an organisation that supports the education of girls and teenage mothers in marginalised communities through mentorship programmes, the provision of sanitary products and other support.

She is married to Bruno from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the mother of 3 lovely children. Back home they faced unimaginable trauma, and eventually they had no other choice but to flee their home. Despite all this, they are both incredibly positive people and are using their experiences in the UK asylum system to campaign for change.

“I feel like a professional football player coming back from retirement”

William is currently seeking asylum in the UK with his wife and four-year-old daughter. His family fled El Salvador last June. William was working as an advisor to the mayor, but they were targeted by the MS-13 gang because the mayor was unwilling to be bribed. William was shot twice. It is then that he took his family into hiding for 6 months whilst he earnt enough money to buy flights to the UK – it had to be somewhere outside of the Americas as the gang has such a vast network.

William came to Refugee Action for support and advice on his asylum process and has since joined our campaigns ambassador group, RAS Voice. He says the group has given him the chance to do something he loves again – it’s made him feel full of joy.

“Let us make the world a better place”

Ana is originally from Georgia. She was forced to flee her country 6 years ago, along with her family. Ana was in the asylum process for 5 long years, and finally got her refugee status 1.5 years ago. Since being granted, Ana has been pursuing a MA in Human Rights Law at a leading university in London. She is passionate about refugee law, music and gender equality.

Putting you, the staff, at the heart of this partnership

We know that staff at Bank of America will want to get stuck into this partnership in a variety of different ways – and we will welcome them all! We’d love to involve you directly with the employability programme to give you a chance to directly make a real difference to the lives of refugees.

This could mean becoming a dedicated mentor, or running group workshops on CV-writing or how to finance a start-up. Of course, we also have plenty of ideas for making fundraising both exciting and impactful.

No matter your line of business or time-commitments, we will make sure you feel part of this partnership in the way that you want. You have the power – invest in refugees and give them a chance to live again. Vote for Refugee Action today.