UNHCR and partner Inspire Pakistan provide education, livelihoods training to refugee and Pakistani students
21 July 2022
RAWALPINDI – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Inspire Pakistan held a graduation ceremony for the first intake of Afghan refugees and Pakistani students of the Urban Cohesion Hub in Rawalpindi.
A total of 122 students including 62 refugee and 59 Pakistani students obtained their certificates, having completed a three-month training in various education and livelihood courses. Graduates also received a livelihoods kit to start their careers, including sewing machines for tailors and stove tops and a set of pots and utensils for budding chefs.
The Urban Cohesion Hub is a community centre which provides a safe space where women, men, boys and girls of all backgrounds can meet for social events, recreation, education and livelihood programmes, and avail of mental health and legal support.
Established with the objective of empowering refugee and host community youth, skills training programmes are offered three times a year to transition into the job market and fulfil their immense potential as active members of their host communities. These include English language training, computer courses, cosmetology, tailoring, and cooking classes.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Anmol, an Afghan refugee enrolled herself in the culinary arts course. “I found this course very exciting and I learned how to prepare many cuisines,” she said adding she wanted to establish a home-based cooking business to support herself and her family. “It seems that now my dream will come true.”
In the past four years, UNHCR in partnership with the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) and other NGO partners provided market-led vocational and technical skills trainings to over 9,000 youth including refugees and Pakistanis in 46 trades in Pakistan, which has helped them to have sustainable income generation opportunities.
UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Pakistan, Tammi Sharpe, and Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, Farid Ullah Jan, attended the event joined by Inspire Pakistan CEO, Qaiser Siddique.
Noting that an estimated three million Afghans including 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees and 0.84 million Afghan Citizen Cardholders (ACC) are hosted generously by the people of Pakistan, Farid Ullah Jan underscored the support extended by the Government of Pakistan in health, education, wash, livelihood, international protection, and called for continued investment by the international community in all sectors including training and skills development programmes.
“Strengthening livelihood opportunities are a cornerstone of UNHCR’s activities in Pakistan – because we know that by investing in refugee youth’s education is an investment in their future as well as their communities,” UNHCR Deputy Representative Tammi Sharpe said, adding that empowered youth have the potential to determine their future and serve their community.
She acknowledged and appreciated the partners and donors, in particular the Government of Italy and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, for their generous contribution which has ensured the Hub will continue to train, educate and graduate refugees and hosting communities.
Mr. Qaiser Khan Afridi, UNHCR Pakistan Spokesperson, +92-300-5018696