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The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, according to the UNHCR. An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes, among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees    .

The harsh and life-threatening conditions that force displaced people and refugees to leave their homes to seek a brighter future, soon become crucial challenges that deprive them of the most basic rights to a decent life.

Refugees, particularly youth, face pressing challenges that include difficulty in accessing quality learning, education, skill-building opportunities, and scarce employment and livelihood prospects. This only serves to magnify the chronic socioeconomic issues to be struggled with because of pre-existing youth unemployment ailments.

Syrians currently comprise the highest refugee population, with 5.5 million Syrian refugees around the world. The Republic of Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees worldwide; with the UNHCR recording 2.9 million refugees as of June 2017 .

Silatech, an international non-profit, non-governmental social development organization that works to economically empower youth, recently discussed promoting jobs for youth and refugees during a roundtable titled “Job Opportunities and Integration for Youth & Refugees”. The roundtable was held in Berlin on November 1st and was organized in coordination with The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Embassy of the State of Qatar. Silatech also participated in an expert meeting titled “Creating Jobs and Economic Opportunities / Access to Employment and Livelihood Activities for Refugees and in Host Communities” in Bonn – Germany. The event was organized by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Silatech hopes that the outcomes of the two events would fortify its efforts of economically empowering young people by connecting them with the jobs and resources necessary to establish and develop their enterprises and enhance their employability.

Silatech showcased its successful model in designing innovative programs that generate employment opportunities for displaced youth and refugees in host countries, in line with the sustainable development goals of promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. The organization stressed on the importance of collaboration with local, regional, and international partners to ensure the success of its programs.

One of Silatech’s most successful programs for promoting employment opportunities and livelihoods for refugees is a fruitful collaboration with Rizk for Professional Development. Rizk, a member of the Syrian Forum institutions, was founded to integrate Syrian refugees in the Turkish labor market, and in a short time-span was able to earn the trust of the Turkish government and build a repertoire for itself in the field of vocational training and employment of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Silatech and Rizk collaborated to launch the Rizk Center for the employment and vocational training of Syrian refugees in Istanbul. The center aims to secure job opportunities for Syrian youth in Istanbul in line with their qualifications and areas of expertise. Since its establishment in late 2016, Rizk institute has linked 3,318 youth with suitable jobs, and more than 8,500 youth have received career counseling and training services.

In addition, Silatech has designed innovative programs to meet the needs of Palestinian youth in different communities, such as its program to support youth entrepreneurs in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. In partnership with the Palestine for Development Foundation (PsDF) and two lending institutions in Lebanon, the program created 1,251 jobs through providing youth startup loans and capacity-building services. The program aims to economically empower Palestinian youth living in refugee camps in Lebanon by helping them launch new enterprises or sustain existing ones.

In a world where nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution, Silatech develops its programs taking into consideration the varying conditions and circumstances of conflict-affected communities in each country and that cater to both refugees and internally displaced populations. Its “decent living” initiative in Syria has employed 1,700 displaced youth in a project to build alternative homes for their community, while also providing them with the tools to assist them in obtaining job opportunities on future projects.