Every day starts the same for Ahmad*. He wakes up around 6AM to see what trucking routes need a hauler. Looks like nothing for today but tomorrow, there’s a load in Baltimore that needs a driver to take it down to Florida. Ahmad claims the load and starts to prepare for the 28-hour round-trip job.
Two years ago, Ahmad lived in Afghanistan where he worked with the U.S. government implementing development projects. When the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government in August 2021, Ahmad and his family fled to Pakistan, fearing his affiliation with the U.S. put his family at risk.
In 2022, the IRC resettled Ahmad and his family in Maryland, and connected them with housing, medical insurance, and volunteer mentors to aid the family’s transition to life in the United States. It was very difficult for Ahmad to secure a job in the United States that aligned with his skills and experience. He has a master’s degree in public policy and administration, speaks fluent English, and has over ten years of project management experience.
After submitting hundreds of applications and undergoing many interviews without success, Ahmad decided start over. He obtained a commercial driving license and partnered with his uncle to start their own trucking business. In the span of just a few months, Ahmad counts Amazon among the companies he drives for.
November is Global Entrepreneurship Month, a time to celebrate the entrepreneurs who bolster the American economy and serve their communities. For many, starting a business is an opportunity to regain control of their lives after fleeing their home countries. In the United States, refugees have a high rate of entrepreneurship, with 14% starting or owning businesses compared to 9% of U.S.-born workers.
For Ahmad, challenges remain - from the rising cost of diesel to the long hours on the road. Still, Ahmad is proud of the work he put in to get where he is today. He plans to purchase his own truck soon and expand his business to dispatch trucks for other companies.
Ahmad advises newly arrived refugees to be open-minded about changing their career path. Trucking is considered a low status profession in Afghanistan. As a trucker in the U.S., he enjoys being able to provide for his family and the independence driving offers. Ahmad is grateful for the support of the IRC, who helped position him to become a successful entrepreneur.
*Ahmad’s name has been changed to protect his privacy and the security of his family members in Afghanistan.