Marta Tewolde/IRC

The IRC is thankful for our continued partnership with Starbucks, who has agreed to hire 10,000 refugees globally. Through these job opportunities, Starbucks is supporting clients as they rebuild their lives and integrate into their local communities. This month we want to highlight a success story from one of our own clients in Silver Spring who was recently hired by Starbucks.

Gift Handson, originally a Zimbabwean native, lived in South Africa for five years where he worked for News Café International. As a result of several promotions in the organization, he developed many skills in customer service, communications, management and finance tracking. Gift originally fled Zimbabwe as result of persecution and after years in South Africa had to flee again because of violence against immigrants.

After years of trying to find safe harbor, Mr. Handson was granted asylum to the US in June 2018 and selected the IRC as the refugee resettlement organization to assist him as he transitioned into his new life in the United States.

Through the IRC’s Economic Empowerment Programs and assistance from IRC employees, Mr. Handson participated in Hospitality Link’s trainings and finished the program over the span of one month. Mr. Handson then interviewed with Starbucks. After three interviews and onboarding paperwork, Mr. Handson started a new job as a shift supervisor at a Starbucks location just within five minutes of the IRC’s Silver Spring office. 

Mr. Handson feels bright about his future here in the US: “I feel proud of my own country, but ever since I arrived in the United Stated, my life has improved. I want to share with fellow refugees my story because where I come from is so difficult, and I have learned so much here. I also want to thank the IRC, my case worker and employment specialist, because I have learned so much and I am working hard to improve my skills.” Gift hopes to one day open a franchise café or restaurant specializing in African cuisine.