CLEVELAND — Ghulamsayed Sahdid is a refugee from Afghanistan, now living in Middleburg Heights, who says Cleveland's Building Hope in the City and its Hope Center have done everything to make it possible for him to provide for his family.
Sahdid said the six-week Hope Center Career Development Program is giving him crucial instruction on American workplace culture so he can find a maintain a better job. The program is also prepared to assist refugees from Ukraine, who may make their way to northeast Ohio in the coming months due to the ongoing Russian attack.
“The program is very important for our refugee people because we come from different countries, from different cultures," Sahdid said. “I come here in the evening, I joined the classes, the citizenship classes for reading and writing.”
“This Hope Center is very helpful for us, for not only Afghani people but for all refugee people.”
Jewel Yokie, Hope Center Career and Family Development Specialist, told News 5 the career curriculum is not only designed to assist refugees, but it also provides local employers with resources on how to better provide a workplace environment to work for everyone.
“Being able to provide for your own family brings about dignity, it brings about skills," Yokie said. "It’s all about our hope to empower people as they establish roots here. Many of the employers on our job board, they have for the most part a layer of cultural understanding, they try to provide translation services if possible.”
Eileen Wilson, Building Hope in the City Director of Refugee Ministries, said the Hope Center has been up and running for seven years, and told News 5 the center came out of an idea that there was a gap between when people came into northeast Ohio and were expected to be self-sufficient and the reality of what it takes to move a family forward.
“The Hope Center is meant to move people from what I call surviving, to thriving," Wilson said. "We create understanding to bridge that gap between their culture and American culture. Because if you’re here, you're going to be probably working for an American employer and the expectation of that employer is going to be totally different.”
“But it's not just working a low-level factory job or low-level job, it's really embracing the American dream and saying I want to do something better; I want a job where I can feed my family.”
Those who would like to get involvedor donate to Cleveland Building Hope in the Citycan find all the information they need on the agency web page.
Ghulamsayed Sahdid told News 5 that the growing number of Northeast Ohio businesses offering job opportunities are giving dozens of families the gift of a new start in life.
“These companies gave us everything, like a job, the things we want," Sahdid said. "These companies, we’re grateful because if we don’t have a job we can’t do anything. You work, you support your family, if you don’t work, how do you support your family?”