Masimba was visiting the United States for an engineering conference when his secret relationship with another man back home in Zimbabwe was discovered. Right away he started getting death threats by phone, email and social media from his own family and friends, as well as strangers. Stranded and unable to return home, Masimba realized his only option was to seek asylum in the United States.
To make ends meet while he waited for his legal claims to process, Masimba washed dishes for less than minimum wage. Back home, he’d had a good job and a middle class lifestyle. Now he felt powerless, sad and alone. Masimba believed his life would improve if he could get a better job but he didn’t know how to get started. Masimba’s immigration attorney referred him to AsylumWorks for help.
Masimba enrolled in Reach Higher, AW’s program for English-speaking professionals, which included a five-day job readiness training workshop. On the first day, Masimba was surprised to meet other smart and accomplished professionals just like him, who were also struggling to find appropriate work. Masimba thought he was the only one! During the week, Masimba learned what he needed to know to find and apply for a new job – from writing a U.S. style resume to learning how to answer interview questions. He enjoyed meeting the American volunteers and became friendly with the other clients. By the end of the training, Masimba began to feel hope again.
A few days after the training, AsylumWorks staff connected Masimba to a volunteer with a similar professional background. After they met, the volunteer suggested Masimba apply to work at a large construction company that often had openings. A few weeks later, Masimba was invited for an interview. Masimba called AsylumWorks to help him prepare. Masimba felt nervous before the interview but reassured himself that at least he knew he was capable of getting this far. As Masimba remembers: “I knew I was going to be ok when the interviewer asked ‘Tell me about yourself.’ AsylumWorks had helped me prepare for this very question and I knew just how to answer it.” The rest of the interview went by quickly and felt easy. Masimba was proud he was able to talk about the projects he had worked on back home. Two days after the interview, Masimba was hired by the construction company.