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Our Stories: Spotlights

Job Seeker: Ojulu

Job Seeker: Ojulu

Defining Determination

Ojulu spent more than 10 years living in Dadaab, Kenya, home to several of the world’s largest refugee camps. He was one of the lucky few that had a job; Ojulu worked with the Danish Refugee Council as a prevention officer. Tensions often ran high at the camps and he helped enhance safety for residents.

Ojulu understood the experience of being marginalized. He came from western Ethiopia’s Gambella region, and his people, the Anuak, have a long history of persecution by the government and forced displacement off their fertile land.

In the camps, Ojulu fostered connections and community among residents by teaching a game played by his people. The multi-player game, much like Dominoes, requires counting and calculation, and it became a way for residents to learn cooperation skills and become friends. The game was a success, and it was included in a documentary about life in Dadaab’s refugee camps.*

Now, in the U.S., Ojulu is determined to be reunited with his wife, still in Kenya. To do so requires money and good work.

Cheryl, his Daily Work volunteer case manager, noticed that Ojulu is everything an employer wants in an employee. “He is hardworking, committed, and goes above and beyond to work well with others,” she notes.

Cheryl knew that the interview would be the hardest part for Ojulu. “We talked about the importance of professionalism. What that means in the U.S., and how to demonstrate it. I asked if he could wear a tie. He showed up in a full suit! I thought, yes, that’s it.”

Cheryl went with Ojulu to an Environmental Services (custodian) job interview at Children’s Hospital. “When it was over, the interviewer called me into the office,” recalls Cheryl. "The human resource person was so impressed with Ojulu’s presentation and presence that not only had he gotten the job, but they wanted to know if Daily Work could forward other candidates, too."

The job is full time with benefits, and pays $5,000 more in annual income than his last position.

I need to bring my wife here from Kenya. I’m taking my citizenship test. I am making more money, and soon we will be together again.


*Learn more about the hardships faced by refugees in the Dadaab camps in this documentary:

Ojulu was also featured in our 2022 Steps to Success event video presentation. Hear him in his own words at this YouTube link.

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