International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Refugees at Work in Charlottesville

Phung worked as an electrician in Burma before coming to Charlottesville as a refugee in August 2009. He now works as a Grill Cook at UVA&rsquo;s Runk Dining Hall and hopes to go into electrical work again in the future.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
Clementine, originally from Rwanda, is a very hard worker. She currently works at the University of Virginia Hospital and is pursuing her Associate's Degree at the local community college.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
Before he started interpreting for the US Army in Iraq in 2004, Zouzek studied nursing. Here in Charlottesville, Zouzek works as a medical technician at Morningside Assisted Living and frequently serves as an Arabic Interpreter for the IRC.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
Phul Maya, a refugee from Bhutan, spoke no English when she first arrived with her family in January 2009.  Phul now works as a Housekeeper at the Hampton Inn and her English has dramatically improved.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
After fleeing Sierra Leone, Joseph was resettled in Charlottesville by the IRC in 2004. That year, he began working at the Omni Hotel as a Bell Attendant and has worked there ever since. When asked about Joseph, the Omni's HR Manager said, &ldquo;Having a diverse workforce has made a very positive impact on our entire staff and has been a win-win situation!&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
As a Burmese refugee in the Tham Hin Camp in Thailand, Joyna worked as a nurse for Doctors Without Borders. Now, Joyna enjoys her work as a full-time Housekeeper at the Doubletree Hotel in Charlottesville.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Courtney Cook/IRC</em><br /><br />
Ahmad arrived in Charlottesville in June of 2009 after fleeing Iraq. He now works at the University of Virginia Hospital transporting patients by stretcher and wheelchair.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
Byu Lar and her husband arrived in Charlottesville from Burma with their four children and little English between them. Now, Byu Lar is working as a Table Attendant at UVA&rsquo;s Runk Dining Hall.<br /><br /><em>Photo: Clare Politano/IRC</em><br /><br />
Photo: Clare Politano/IRC

The IRC in Charlottesville provides vocational counseling, resume preparation, job search and placement services, and financial assistance to refugees with the goal of helping them find their first job in America.  For many refugees, earning a livelihood is not only essential to gaining control over their future, but vital to regaining a sense of personal dignity.  Hundreds of refugees have become valued members of Charlottesville's workforce by contributing their diverse skills to over sixty local employers.