Hord Wbi, Program Management Officer CARE FI
"During my studies Digital Business and Innovation I visited the Diversity Talent Event of the Rabobank. Among others, CEO Wiebe Draijer spoke about diversity, inclusiveness and the bank's mission: Growing a Better World Together. He talked about the employees here who work together to give newcomers a chance in the Netherlands. That gave me the reason to want to work for this organisation. With a job, I could start again to build on what I had lost in previous years".
Hord Wbi arrived in the Netherlands in 2014. After an three-month journey to flee his country of origin. Hord had completed his bachelor degree in Banking and Insurance in Syria, when he was summoned to join the army. He was faced with the choice of either fighting in the civil war or leaving everything behind and fleeing his homeland at the risk of his own life. He chose the latter. He has not seen his family since 2014.
Highly educated and the will to build a new life, Hord ended up in an Asylum seeker’s centre. He learns Dutch himself and helps as an interpreter in the various centres where he stays.
Hord is eventually assigned a place of residence and he decides to learn Dutch even better at the University Van Amsterdam. Later,he gets the chance to participate in a business game at the Nyenrode University. He wins a runner-up scholarship to do a master at the school. In February 2019 he passes his Master of Science in Digital Business and Innovation. Later that year he searched for a vacancy at Rabobank, and that is when Hord meet Ali Nabizadeh for the first time.
Ali Nabizadeh: “As project manager diversity and inclusion at Rabobank together with my colleagues, we try to give status holders (newcomers) a place to work at our organisation. We do this because we have a responsibility to our society and also because there is a shortage on the labour market, so why not look at these motivated and talented people? I came to the Netherlands from Afghanistan some 23 years ago. One of my first memories as a 10-year-old boy was a visit to Rabobank. My parents and I opened an account there. I was so impressed that I decided to work at the bank as well”.
In April 2019, the Dutch Business Summit on Refugees took place at the bank. This event is organised by Tent Partnership for Refugees on the initiative of Accenture, Unilever and Rabobank.
Ali: “At this summit, various larger Dutch companies expressed their commitment to work to promote the integration and self-reliance of these newcomers by offering them training positions, internships and jobs within their organization. Rabobank announced that it will help at least 60 holders of a residence permit to find a job at the bank within the next two years. We want to contribute to the development of our new countrymen and women. This, in turn, has a positive impact on society”.
Hord: “I have been working at Rabobank for 6 months now in the Program Management Support department within Global Markets. I am Program Management Officer at the CARE FI project. I support the managers within the project and we focus on reducing money laundering and tax evasion. It is special to see how open employees are and how welcome they are to new colleagues. I have the will to get something done and I want to work for it. Thanks to my colleagues and mentors, I am able to do that. They give me that extra push.”
Ali: “A lot of newcomers would rather start at a job in the Netherlands as soon as possible to become self-reliant again. With this project we give them an extra push, but most of them do it themselves. We are looking for the people who have the right capacities for a job. Not because they happen to have a refugee past.”
Hord: “I am lucky to have several mentors to guide me. Ali helps me a lot with daily matters like taxes. At work, I have a lot of conversations and help from my manager and my colleagues are always willing to help me”.
Ali: “There is a need for well-educated people all over Europe. As an international company, I can imagine we roll out this project in other countries as well. But for now, I help newcomers to work at Rabobank in the Netherlands. And not for a period of six months, but really for a longer and more sustainable career. And make no mistake, we can learn a lot from them. For instance the gratitude that we live in a safe country and we can work on our career. This seems very natural to us, but it’s good to remember it’s not the same for everybody..”
Hord: “Through my job I dare to dream again. That’s something I’ve missed for five years. I had to survive first. I didn’t have the luxury to think about the future. But with the help of the Rabobank and with my own willpower, I can look forward again.
Through a voluntary work with Pax for Peace organizationPAX is the largest peace organisation in the Netherlands. For 70 years they have been working on peace in conflict areas where it is war or where society has been disrupted after years of violence. , I tell the story of myself and other refugees to Dutch students between 14 and 18 years old. We tell them that you don’t need a war to appreciate what you already have. Look, listen and feel what is happening around you. I also help within the bank to give newcomers as warm a welcome as I got. That way I can do something back out of appreciation for what I got when I first arrived here.”