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  • Writer's pictureFotis Filippou

Community voices: Bringing our expertise, not just our story

As part of our series of community calls, members of the Taking the Lead network come together regularly to learn from the experiences and expertise of one another.

For our call in September 2023, we were very lucky to have Rabea Alkadri and Mustafa Alio kicking off the conversation and sharing their experiences of building power, securing resources and supporting refugees to get a seat at the table.

Rabea Alkadri, is a 55-year old community activist who advocates for the education of Syrian students in Lebanon and for women's issues. She was an Arabic language teacher in Syria, and took refuge in Lebanon in 2012 and worked in teaching Syrian students and attended training with civil society organisations in psychological support, communication and leadership skills. She worked in several organisations as a human development trainer and provided literacy courses in camps, and she provided TOT training in international humanitarian law. She provided international humanitarian law training to a large number of Syrians and Lebanese, and is now a team leader for a community initiative called (We are for each other) that aims to empower women socially, economically and psychologically. She always love to learn, an believes that a person, no matter how old they get, is still able to learn and give, and can leave a positive impact everywhere and contribute to change and building peace. You can watch her intervention below.

Mustafa Alio describes himself as a socially responsible advocate, and engaged leader working with numerous non-profits, and international networks focusing on refugee rights, as well as refugee economic empowerment, and inclusion. His own experiences of refuge, integration, and inclusion have been the foundation of my work and advocacy.

Mustafa is the Co-Managing Director of R-SEAT (Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table), a global project that enables refugees to have a seat at policymaking tables in 20 countries. He also helped secure over $5 million in funding for refugee-led and local organizations in the past five years and was honoured with the Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Decorations from the Office of the Governor General in Canada in 2021. He led the growth of Jumpstart Refugee Talent from a $0 budget to a $2 million organization with over 30 staff members in less than five years. Jumpstart Refugee Talent played a key role in creating the first economic mobility pathway program in Canada for refugees. You can watch his intervention below.

The Taking the Lead community calls are being hosted by MobLab Collective's Emma You Biermann. Emma's mother was herself a refugee from Cambodia who fled to the UK in the 1970s as a result of US bombings on her country. Emma is a transformational trainer, facilitator, strategist and physical movement practitioner, working for trauma informed systems change.

During the call, interpretation was provided by Na Takallam.


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