The Big Heart Foundation has announced the honoring of the nonprofit international organization Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) as the winner of the 7th edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA 2023). This recognition comes as a tribute to the organization’s innovative efforts from 2016 until today aimed at improving the lives of thousands of refugees and individuals in need worldwide.
TBB is the world’s first and only organization that works on connecting refugees and individuals in need with international job opportunities, enabling them to resume their professional lives, rebuild their future, and achieve self-sufficiency by opening skilled migration pathways. The NGO has empowered thousands of refugees to seize life-changing opportunities and migrate for work in various refugee hosting countries.
The seventh edition of the AED 500,000 SIARA award selected TBB from among 423 candidates representing 41 countries worldwide. This recognition highlights the organization’s innovative approach in addressing the gaps in humanitarian efforts dedicated to refugees globally. TBB has made a significant impact on governments in various countries, inspiring them to revise and enhance their migration programs and visa services. As a result of TBB’s unparalleled efforts, several hosting countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK have launched initiatives like the ‘Hiring Displaced Talents’ program, which enables refugees to utilize their abilities, skills, educational qualifications, and work experiences in official job opportunities within these nations.
The organization is renowned for being the first nonprofit to initiate an International Job Fair exclusively for skilled refugees and displaced individuals. Through this initiative, they connect and pair individuals with prominent international companies and employers who are in need of their skills and expertise. Additionally, the NGO provides specialized educational, vocational, and training programs to enhance the skills and expertise of highly qualified refugees before proceeding with employment procedures in international companies. These programs prioritize areas such as English language proficiency, computer and software training, and communication skills to ensure that individuals are well-prepared for job interviews.
Additionally, the organization has successfully provided its services to more than 6,000 refugees. Upon completion of the job acquisition procedures, the organization facilitates the immigration and relocation processes to the new workplace. It also ensures the provision of basic necessities such as housing, food supplies, legal guarantees, and documentation. This enables refugees to access essential healthcare services, social integration support, and other daily basic services. These efforts are carried out by distributed teams operating in various countries worldwide, ensuring ongoing support for refugees even after their migration and facilitating their smooth integration into new communities. Consequently, the organization has contributed to increasing refugees’ annual income by over 750%. Moreover, it has established a digital platform that verifies the professional qualifications of more than 65,000 refugees worldwide.
According to TBB’s 2023 skills mapping of 65,000 refugees, 64 percent of registrants reported having intermediate English proficiency or higher, which is a significant percentage. Additionally, 34 percent of the registrants have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, surpassing the global average. The top industries among refugee registrants include Skilled Trades, Industrial Engineering, Healthcare, Computer Science, and Finance.
Refugee talents are a significant addition to the global job market
TBB dedicated its efforts to make change and transform the concept of refugee support from waiting for assistance from donors to empowering refugees and enabling them to change their lives with their talents and skills through work. The non-profit’s strategy came in response to reports which indicate that 12.7 million of the world’s refugees are of working age, and amongst them millions are skilled, but live in countries where they have limited rights and cannot work.
The NGO has designed pioneering skilled migration pathways in collaboration with corporates, recruiters and non-profits worldwide to connect over 1,100 refugees with companies in need of their skills, while also benefiting over 5,000 additional refugees have gained from TBB’s services and support. TBB also works closely with governments to address policy barriers and implement visa program changes that enable more skilled refugees and their families to successfully relocate to developed economies, offering them a fresh start.
By mapping and documenting the professional backgrounds of over 65,000 refugees on their Talent Catalog, a fit-for-purpose tech platform, TBB identified in-demand workers across more than 200 occupations, and currently engages over 300 employers, from hospitality to healthcare to tech firms, to recruit refugees to fill pressing skill gaps.
SIARA: An award that focuses not only on humanitarian needs, but also the myriad human aspirations of refugee
Launched in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the award is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
SIARA has played an unprecedented role over the past 7 years in highlighting and honouring both individual and organizational contributions, which have fulfilled not only the humanitarian needs, but also the human aspirations of refugees in the region and beyond – ranging from food security, emergency aid, shelter and other basics to those that go deeper to give displaced people the courage and confidence to regrow their roots and feel a sense of belonging again.