After arriving from Afghanistan as a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holder in July 2020, Shallah Shaiq began the process of building a new life in the U.S. with her husband and teenage son. Shallah initially earned a bachelor’s degree in law from Afghanistan and carries a passion for working with her Afghan peers through communications. Shallah felt determined to acquire the skills she needed to develop her resume and continue her education in the U.S.  so she could continue to support women’s rights within an Afghan immigrant organization.

Shallah decided to take part in the IRC’s Vocational Training and Employment Services (VTES) program as the first step toward her professional pursuits in the U.S. The VTES program provides clients with coaching on career laddering and pathways, and supports them in receiving evaluations for foreign-origin credentials and licensing. The team’s employment specialist provided Shallah with information about training and educational opportunities that best suited her career goals.  

After working with the IRC to assess her options, Shallah was referred to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate course at Montgomery College in Maryland. She began the scholarship program in April 2022 in order to improve her managerial skills. Shallah successfully completed her PMP course in August and is currently working with her employment specialist to find a position aligned with her goals. 

Shallah currently works with the IRC as an interpreter and is a board member with the Afghan Home USA organization. She also runs a non-profit media organization and television channel to support Afghan families through communications and cultural awareness and integration programming. Shallah is very grateful to the VTES team as well as the Montgomery College team for assisting her in progressing toward her professional goals in the U.S.