Despite the years long job search, Najma lands the career of her dreams.

Meet Najma

Najma always dreamed of being an educated woman, but she didn’t have many opportunities for schooling in Somalia. So when she was given the opportunity to reunite with her mother in Norway — who left home to provide for her children — she jumped at the chance.

In 2018, she graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering and biotechnology before moving to the U.S. to be with her husband — only to face barriers despite her academic achievements.

“I applied to so many different roles I knew I was qualified for, but I never [got] the opportunity to get interviewed.”

Empowered by Upwardly Global, Farzana reignites a cause-driven career in New York City nonprofits.

Meet Farzana​

Farzana and her husband both worked in the political sphere in Afghanistan. In August 2021, they both had to flee the country for safety, and found themselves on U.S. soil starting from scratch.

“I had no idea that I [had] to leave until ten minutes before I left,” she says. Despite only having a few minutes to pack up, she knew it was out of the question to leave without her education documents.

“All the other Afghans that came before us, they had the mindset that you can’t have an office job in the U.S. — you have to struggle,” Farzana says. She didn’t buy it.

Upwardly Global supports Vanessa, an asylee from Venezuela, to restart her medical career at NewYork-Presbyterian.

Meet Vanessa​

As a child, Vanessa dreamed of being a doctor; in 2007, after seven years of rigorous training, she established herself as an anesthesiologist in Venezuela.

However, political unrest forced her to seek asylum in the U.S. with her husband and daughter. On arrival, they lived in one small bedroom in a shared apartment, making ends meet through various construction jobs — from demolition to painting — across the city. 

It would be five years before Vanessa found Upwardly Global’s Career Coaching Program.

Upwardly Global alum Sofiia flees war and gives back in both the U.S. and Ukraine.

Meet Sofiia​

In February of 2022, Sofiia’s six-year-old daughter was brushing her teeth when explosions first shook their home in Ukraine. Ten days later, they fled the country as Sofiia feared for her daughter’s safety.

Back in Ukraine, she had the equivalent of both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neurology. In the U.S., it felt like starting from zero, as the U.S. system doesn’t recognize foreign credentials.

When she found Upwardly Global, her story changed completely.

Samah immigrated to support her daughter’s dream, beginning again herself.

Meet Samah​

“I love to learn. I can’t stand still and do nothing; it’s not my nature,” says 46-year-old Samah, who moved from Egypt to the United States to help her eldest daughter pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

But despite over 30 years of experience in education, Samah felt lost trying to navigate the American education system in hope of relicensing as a teacher.

“I felt so frustrated,” says Samah. “I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But with Upwardly Global, I saw the light, and I followed it.”

After fleeing war, Berhan landed a thriving-wage job as Senior Category Analyst.

Meet Berhan

Berhan spent much of her childhood crouched in bomb shelters during the 1980’s Ethiopian Civil War and famine. Despite this, she excelled in academics and eventually earned a marketing degree from one of Ethiopia’s top universities.

She worked for over 12 years in marketing and business — but her success was short lived. In 2020, political tensions flared once more, and Tigrayan people like Berhan became targets. In March 2021, she had no choice but to flee to the U.S. 

“Starting over again at 33 — it’s not something that you want to do,” says Berhan. “I’ll be safe. I’ll be free. But I don’t know what will happen to my life goals after losing everything I have worked for.”

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