Livelihood Project is a culmination of on ground experience & learning of 2 projects & 4 individuals. Welcome Project Toronto founded by Virginia Johnson, connected local Toronto communities with government sponsored refugee families for resettlement and integration support. The second project, Newcomer Kitchen, co-founded by two Syrian refugees Rahaf Alkabani & Esmaeel Abofakher leveraged a pop-up restaurant space to provide Syrian refugee women an opportunity to cook & sell their home recipes. Parin Kothari, with a corporate and international not-for-profit background, worked on both of these projects in Toronto after gaining some experience on the frontlines of the refugee crisis – in Germany & Lebanon. Parin, along with Rahaf & Esmaeel, started a primary research exercise in September to understand the skills & experiences the refugees are bringing into the economy, and the career help that Syrian families are receiving. Through the research we learned more about the current employment support system and its shortcomings – rigidity of process, inconsistent advice and support, frustration due to distance and language, and very poor to no leverage of modern technology. We saw an opportunity to improve the job seeker experience by:

    providing an integrated platform that:

  1. blends best of human & technology capabilities…
  2. for long term career decision making, and for learning & development for success.
Parin joined hands with Arash, a newcomer from Iran, who just finished his PhD in Physics at Queens University to come up with an operation to learn, work and design with user centricity and evidence collection built at every step. And here we are, running three parallel business operations that feed into each other, cross-breed and are progressively shaping up into a lab for future skills.