Meet Yasir - Refugee & Entrepreneur! ✨
Born & raised in Baghdad, Iraq, Yasir faced many hardships throughout his life as a result of constant war and political turmoil. Bombings & kidnappings happened on a daily basis and became eerily normalized.
In 2004, when Yasir was 20 years old, he was caught in an IED roadside bombing while driving to school. He was badly injured & deeply traumatized. Bombings continued in Baghdad and gruesome, disturbing sights of dead bodies, particularly young children lined the streets.
A little while later, Yasir was kidnapped and tortured for being “too open-minded & liberal.” Eventually, Yasir was released, but he knew he had to escape. It was a life or death situation in Iraq. Like many other refugees fleeing Iraq at the time he ended up in Syria. This influx of Iraqi refugees in Syria resulted in tension, overcrowding & minimal job opportunities. Yasir remembers being crammed in a tiny apartment in the slums of Damascus with seven other refugees - unemployed, afraid & struggling to survive.
Yasir hit rock bottom and even contemplated suicide. It was a dark time for him. It was flight or fight mode for Yasir, and he tried one last time to make his escape. He went to an internet cafè and was desperate to find any form of relief online. He connected with an American film maker named Jennifer Utz who made it her personal mission to help hopeless refugees flee war and file for asylum with the UN.
Jennifer responded to his plea for help right away and immediately began assisting him in his pursuit.
After a very lengthy and tiresome asylum process, Yasir eventually to NYC. When he arrived to Manhattan, he got to finally thank Jennifer in person and show his appreciation. She even helped him apply for jobs and get on his feet.
Fast forward, Yasir is now an entrepreneur working with startups on AI technology and is also on the board of Syria Fund, a nonprofit that builds schools for refugee children in the Middle East and helps them overcome trauma. He’s often invited to share his inspiring story with others in the refugee community. Yasir & Jennifer remain very good friends today! @yasirgram83#represent
Module 2 Week 2: This week’s Instasharing might take some thought! What is an item that can only be found in your culture or community? Describe it for us! The challenge would be to take the photo with your own phone, and not find it online📱#virtualexchange#algeria#iraq#unitedstates#yemen