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Stepping Up for the World's Refugees

“Growing up in Afghanistan around a lot of people in difficult circumstances, I have been brought up to care for others, especially those who are vulnerable,” writes Rahila Muhibi (Pearson UWC, Methodist ’09). As a program officer in London for Focus Humanitarian Assistance, she’s deeply engaged with Europe’s refugee crisis, and she does a great deal of volunteer work within the UK’s Afghan community.

“For Focus Humanitarian Assistance, I research and document the asylum laws in Europe, and monitor national and regional migration trends and in-country policies,” Rahila reports. “I also work directly with refugees.” In addition, she does research as a consultant for iguacu, a nonprofit that directs donors’ contributions toward effective means of addressing crises around the world.

All of her work — professional, consulting, and volunteer — “revolves around improving the quality of life of the refugees and marginalised communities,” Rahila notes. “I find my job and community work rewarding because deep down I know I am making a difference every day, however small, tangible, or intangible it may be.”

After graduating from Methodist, Rahila earned a master’s degree in human-rights law in 2012 from the University of London, and she volunteered from 2011-12 with the Refugee Council in the UK. As a human-rights and humanitarian professional, she has worked with a number of international organizations, including UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council along with Focus Humanitarian Assistance, helping refugees and asylum seekers from India, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Austria, Greece, the UK, and other nations around the world. This year, Rahila became the second international alumna of Methodist University to receive its Distinguished Young Alumni Award.