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14,000 km away from home, Mohammad Zahiri finds an work opportunity at Univates

Postado as 29/09/2022 11:16:42

Por Lucas George Wendt

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Divulgação/Acervo pessoal

The Fundação Univates recently hired construction management specialist Mohammad Homayoon Zahiri (38) who, with his family, is in Lajeado after leaving Afghanistan, where the Taliban group took control of the government. The Institution, attentive to local demands, understood the need to help families who sought exile in Lajeado and had already taken some measures, including the hiring of Zahiri.

It is estimated that more than 2.6 million refugees have left the country, in the Middle East, and are seeking safety in other countries – such as Brazil. Zahiri left Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, about six months ago, with his wife and two children, aged 6 and 7. Families in Vale do Taquari need jobs. They are legal in the country and being empoyed is the chance to stay here.

Zahiri's story touched the Univates team, which, considering the new employee's previous qualifications - he has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering -, hired him to work at the Construction Technologies Laboratory (Latec, in an acronym in Portuguese). He works as a lab assistant. There, he communicates with his colleagues in English and, little by little, learns Portuguese.

“It is my area of work and I hope that soon I will be able to set career goals at Univates. I want to develop myself more and create more opportunities in this state (Rio Grande do Sul). I like this region and I want to stay here ‒ which also depends on future goals”, reveals Zahiri.

Reprodução/Google Maps

“I learned about Rio Grande do Sul, and specifically about Lajeado, through the media and also by asking people from my country who came here. I liked it here and realized that it is a place that has many opportunities for my family”, he says.

Last semester, when the families arrived, starting in March, the Fundação Univates and the associations of teachers (Adof) and employees (Affes) mobilized to collect donations, which were delivered to Zahiri's family and to other families who arrived in Lajeado. The Social Assistance Reference Center (Cras, in an acronym in Portuguese) in Lajeado also helped the refugees.

The manager of Engineering and Maintenance at Univates, Robledo Goulart Müller, explains that there was an initial concern with the language, which was soon overcome. “We believe it would be an experience for us, and there is even an incentive to communicate in English from the interaction with the new employee”.

Müller explains that there was concern at the Institution to welcome the employee and also his family. “From the beginning, we thought that this opportunity for Zahiri to work at Latec should be linked to his professional performance, including his bachelor’s degree as a civil engineer in Afghanistan. We talked to him in order to assess whether he could contribute to us - and also if Latec could do the same to him - based on his needs and technical capabilities”.

Latec is oriented towards research and Zahiri was already approaching with a master's program degree in Afghanistan. “We wanted him to be able to recognize himself professionally by working with us. It will add a vision of the world to our work and to the quality of what we deliver to our customers. Here we aim the regional development, and the approximation with what is done in other places is very important for Latec”, highlights Müller.

Tuane Eggers

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