“We used to live in diversity, in peace,” the translator shares, as Auns Finjan continues her story in her native language, Arabic.
She rattles on, passionately, describing the contrast of life in Iraq before the Sunni and Shia conflict, and after.
“[Before] we went with our Christian friends to their churches on Sundays. Everyone got along. After the new government, everyone was shooting each other.”
The youngest of five children—two brothers and two sisters, Auns and her siblings grew up attending a “first-class” Catholic school. Auns graduated and took a job as an analyst at a local hospital lab. “Life was good,” she remembers, until a shift in the government rocked the boat.
Instability following the country’s 2010 parliamentary election led to a rise in violence, sending families like Auns’ running for the border. Leaving her childhood home, friends, and the only life she ever knew, she went with her family to seek refuge in the neighboring country of Turkey.
Auns and her sister Anya took jobs at a clothing factory. It was there that her sister challenged her, “When you work, you have to work hard and provide for yourself.”
“I’ve been trying to follow this instruction ever since,” Auns says.
In 2015, the family was approved for refugee admission into the United States. Auns once again packed up her belongings and moved, this time across the ocean and into a very foreign world.
After some time acclimating to her new surroundings, she was ready to get back to work. But where could she work? Where would an Arabic-speaking female refugee find work in Atlanta Georgia?
Fortunately for Auns, a new friend pointed her to Amplio Recruiting, a staffing company helping refugees find sustainable work. There, she was quickly connected to a job at the nearby Atlanta Athletic Club.
“I was very happy because I didn’t have to wait very long,” shares Auns, who was excited to return to work. She started work in September of this year as a “steward”, washing dishes, cleaning, and helping out however needed.
“I love everything about my job,” she raves, “I love to be professional and successful.”
Even more, Auns shares that she loves the way AAC staff treat her, saying, “They make me want to stay.”
The feeling is mutual—while the Atlanta Athletic Club has given Auns a launch pad to rebuild her life, they have, at the same time, gained a reliable and driven employee. Stephen Assink, an Amplio employee who helped facilitate the connection explains the “wow factor” behind Auns’ success:
“Her English is so little. She wears a hijab (head scarf.) She is a Muslim woman who can’t drive, and a refugee. She has so many strikes against her, in our society—yet she is working hard and making it happen.”
Auns’ job at AAC has not only provided her family with financial resources, but has helped make her more independent, and is where, she says, she’s learned the most English. While Auns is still adjusting to her new, full-time schedule, she plans to return to school one day, to further her career in the medical field.
“Here there is a future,” she shares, hope ringing in her voice, “Peace; life; a future.”
Even Auns’ mother, who will turn 65 on Christmas day, has hope that she, too, can return to school for the Masters degree she always dreamed of. Their family is the epitome of the growing, ambitious refugee workforce that is causing companies to take notice in cities across the U.S.
Now many businesses, like the Atlanta Athletic Club, are filling labor shortages via this largely untapped labor pool. At Amplio, we take pride in providing top notch employees, specializing in construction staffing, manufacturing staffing, and hospitality staffing. We work with motivated members of the refugee community to bring dependability and efficiency to your company.
To learn more about our benefits and services, call our office at 678-820-8260, or visit www.ampliorecruting.com.