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In partnership with Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Communication-Journalism program and the Calgary Journal, CBC Calgary is publishing a collection profiling a few of the immigrants and refugees who moved right here and the way they’re serving to form our metropolis. 


Francis Duahn’s life in Liberia was unexpectedly stripped from him due to a brutal civil warfare. After fleeing conflicts in a number of African international locations he discovered refuge in Canada.

However, having struggled to search out stability in his new house, he now works to assist others acquire that very same stability in Africa with a brand new web-based service that connects weak staff with jobs.

Duahn’s childhood was some of the steady occasions of his life. His father labored with a Liberian mining firm. He had a roof over his head and meals to eat daily.

That little privilege didn’t final lengthy although. In 1989, former Liberian authorities official Charles Taylor invaded his personal nation in an try to overthrow its president, Samuel Doe.

Doe responded by attacking the Gio and Mano tribes that supported Taylor. Duahn was from the Gio tribe.

On the run

By 2003, the Liberian warfare had claimed greater than 160,00zero lives and left half of its 2.5 million individuals displaced and refugees in West African international locations.

Duahn was amongst them.

When Duahn was 12, his village was invaded by a tribe known as the Krahn who had been against Taylor. Blood was shed. Men and youngsters had been taken for warfare and Duahn’s household was torn aside.

“We all went different ways, I was with two of my younger brothers, we were escaping from the gunfire, and one of them got shot in the back of the head, and he fell,” he says.

Duahn saved working, gripping the hand of his five-year-old brother, escaping the gunfire.

Camp life

He spent the subsequent 15 years at completely different refugee camps in West Africa and did not see his dad and mom for a few years.

“We were at camps where the tribe that was fighting against my tribe in Liberia were controlling things, so I couldn’t say my name or even speak my own language because I would get killed,” he stated.

War all the time appeared to observe him, spreading into neighbouring international locations like Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.”

We all went alternative ways, I used to be with two of my youthful brothers, we had been escaping from the gunfire, and one among them received shot behind the top, and he fell– Francis Duahn

“Lots of our pals who had been the identical age as us received killed, a few of them ran away and joined another warfare factions simply to stay, as a result of if you do not have weapons you do not survive,” he said. “But I’ve by no means believed in violence, I refuse to be part of it so I saved working.”

His working took him to refugee camps.

“Sometimes at these camps you got no food, no medication even though you are supposed to get these things from the United Nations. No medical assistance, no nothing. There would be days without food. It wasn’t just my mouth to feed, it was my brother too.”

Thousands of individuals wanted refuge and solely a small quantity had been really granted it. As a consequence, Duahn thought that his possibilities of leaving Liberia had been slim.

International assist staff at Tellkoro camp in Guinea held interviews for individuals who could qualify for placement into one other nation.

New house, new challenges

After these examinations in 2005, a United Nations agent advised Duahn that he and his brother had been going to start out a brand new life in Windsor, Ont.

He was in full shock when he arrived as a result of he “expected to be monitored, to be shown the way to do things” by the federal government.

“But that didn’t happen, so pretty much I had to do everything for myself, by myself, which was very hard,” he stated

He tried to discover a job, however with no expertise he discovered himself working as a farm labourer for $6.50 an hour.

Leah Hamilton, a Mount Royal University professor who investigates the settlement and knowledge wants of Syrian refugees, says such an expertise is not unusual.

“A common barrier between all refugees is language proficiency, understanding how to apply for jobs in Canada, I think some major economic barriers are around poverty and difficulty finding suitable housing, it’s very difficult.”

She provides, “I think there, social and economic integration are mutually reinforcing … if you have a good job and suitable housing, that’s going to facilitate social connections, and if you have more social connections you are going to be more likely to find a job and suitable housing.”

Schooling opens doorways

Education gave him the chance to achieve these expertise, and community with others

Taking ESL courses, getting his GED, graduating from school and now pursuing a level in worldwide enterprise on the U of C, made Duahn the entrepreneur he’s at the moment.

“The desire to become a better person in an environment where finding a job is predominantly discriminatory drove me to become an entrepreneur,” he stated. “For a refugee to acquire a job in Canada, you need Canadian experience or some sort of education for some low wage jobs. Being my own boss put my destiny in my own hands.”

Starting a enterprise

Duahn thinks refugees and immigrants should not must really feel misplaced after coming into a brand new nation, so he got here up with a enterprise thought to assist them.

“It’s called Kwado, meaning unity. Refugees are always in survival mode trying to make a life for their children, if they don’t, the cycle of survival mode will never end. Kwado is there to end that cycle,” stated Duahn.

Kwado was based in June 2017 and connects individuals which are low revenue, refugees or immigrants in West Africa to companies close to them. It let employers discover the talents they need, whereas making  job seekers extra conscious of labor that is open to them, all on a web-based service.

In creating the web site, Duahn partnered with Medina Dehatee, William Akoto, Richelle Matthews and Robert Schulz, a professor of technique and world administration on the U of C.

‘Dramatic change’

“He’s probably had the most dramatic change in any student I’ve had in my 44 years of teaching,” stated Schulz, Duahn’s mentor and former professor.

“The Francis I noticed from the primary week, was somebody who did not take part at school. Then he began to comprehend his concepts had been good.

“He is very dynamic, very outgoing, and the passion showed up, I gave him the encouragement to use the skills that he already had.”

Duahn and his crew took loads of steps to make the thought of Kwado right into a actuality, testing out the product in Ghana.

That meant piloting it at refugee camps and connecting migrant staff to jobs in Ghana’s building Industry.

“I know what it’s like to struggle, lose everything in the blink of an eye, go from complete light to darkness and I don’t wish it upon anyone else,” Duahn stated. “I think I have a role to play in my society. To influence change back home.”


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Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-05-06 08:00:00, as ‘Calgary entrepreneur creates a platform to assist job seekers in Africa

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