That is the estimated number of men, women and children displaced from their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to the country’s complex and ongoing violence.
Aline Macumu and her family are among these.
When war inevitably reached their village they fled to Rwanda. Despite Rwanda’s own troubles, they have generously hosted refugees from neighboring countries including approximately 74,000 Congolese refugees alone since 1996.
The family settled in the capital of Kigali, where Aline’s dad could secure a job to provide for their growing family. Aline continued her education, first high school, then onto college.
Year after year passed.
Year after year dangerous conditions remained back home in Congo.
The family filed for refugee status with UNCHR who reviewed their case and determined their eligibility for resettlement. After a grueling vetting process they were approved to relocate to the United States.
They had spent ten long years in Rwanda.
Aline was 24 when she first set foot on American soil, a place she would now call “home.” The opportunities were endless—but the work would be hard.
Her family settled in Stone Mountain, East Atlanta, a popular hub for arriving refugees. And, like many others, Aline took a job at a chicken processing plant, well below her capacity, simply to make a paycheck.
The commute was long. The work conditions, hardly humane. Still, she showed up and worked hard at a job well below her college education, and well below livable wage.
When Aline became pregnant, she knew it was time to acquire a job with hours that would better suit her soon-starting role as a parent, and pay that would enable her to go back to school to take steps toward her dream—becoming a doctor.
A friend told Aline about Amplio Recruiting, an Atlanta staffing company connecting refugees to jobs with livable wages and growing potential. Aline met with Stephen Assink who immediately recognized her intelligence, strong work ethic and personable disposition.
He placed her in a second-shift position at a local hair and beauty product manufacturer, House of Cheatham—a job which has finally given her the stability she needed to thrive.
Her shift starts at 2:55pm, but for Aline, work begins well before then.
“I take my baby to daycare, then go to school, study, then go straight to work.” Aline shares about her typical day. “It’s not easy, but it will be good in my future.”
Aline is just six short months away from being a certified medical assistant, the first rung on the ladder of her dreams.
“I like caring for people,” she explains. “I have a big heart.”
Beyond her role of line operator, Aline has served as an Amplio team lead. Aline is a people-person to the core, and speaks six languages, including French and Swahili, which come in handy while overseeing her team of 30 Amplio employees. As team lead, Aline welcomes new employees and communicates any needs or problems back to the Amplio office.
It’s been nine months since Aline started at House of Cheatham and she has grown in her skills and knowledge immensely. So much so that last month she was hired on permanently with the company– an accomplishment we are all proud of.
Aline and thousands of resilient refugees are proving themselves across the U.S. workplace each and every day. They are unshakeable in their resolve to rebuild a life that was so unfairly taken from them, by no fault of their own.
They are dependable. A recent study by the Tent Partnership for Refugees showed that 73% of companies who hired refugees “reported a higher retention rate for refugees than for other employees.” When given the opportunity to earn, learn, and achieve their dreams, refugees repay their employers with fierce loyalty.