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UNICEF and UNHCR launch joint program on livelihood for young refugees in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, 15 February 2016 – UNICEF and UN Refugee Agency launch this week a joint program to support young refugees to find work opportunities in the Kyrgyz Republic.  The program is the first in a series of UNHCR’s activities this year to promote the integration of refugees residing in the country.  

    “For all the challenges that many youths in Kyrgyzstan are facing, being a refugee adds to the difficulties. We are happy to include and help refugees who have had to grow up in a foreign country and may have less opportunities than the Kyrgyz youth,” UNICEF Representative Ms. Yukie Mokuo said.  
    Despite the existing education system, growing young generation in Kyrgyzstan lacks an opportunity to obtain jobs to sustain themselves and their families.  UNICEF’s program designed to support self-reliance and livelihoods for 335 young people throughout the country will include 35 refugees who are talented and motivated to build their future in the Kyrgyz Republic.  

    Twenty young refugees will be trained for skills to enter internship with small and medium enterprises or government agencies. The overall goal of this program is to establish a national internship program jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science and the business community.  

    Another 15 refugees will participate in the training on writing business plans. Three groups of up to 5 refugees will compete for best business proposals, winners of which will receive up to USD 4,000 as well as mentoring support to establish their business.  

    “Most of the refugees have been in the country for more than a decade, have local language skills and basic education, but as foreigners their opportunities are limited,” said UNHCR’s Representative Maki Shinohara. “We are grateful to UNICEF for extending livelihood opportunities to refugees through their youth program. We hope to identify more development partners this year who can help individual refugee to have a future and become a productive member of Kyrgyz society.”

    UNICEF’s partners, Youth Foundation “Instream” facilitates the internship and education component and International Debate Education Association in Central Asia trains for setting up small businesses. UNHCR’s partner, Legal Clinic “Adilet” administers the applications from refugee youths.