According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of migrants globally attempting to cross borders continues to grow: in 2000 there were 150 million while in 2020, 272 million. I hadn’t given enough thought to the fact that 90% of migrants landing on Italian shores are digital natives. Very few find work after the time spent in reception centers, but today, thanks to Christian Richmond and the Mygrants app, they can hope for a decent future. It’s a story of perseverance, vision and commitment born from the mind of a young Ivorian man, who was able to create a tool of tremendous human and social value. I’m honored to have met him and spread the word about his important initiative.
Cristina: Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, 10 years ago, about 800,000 migrants have landed in Italy, in search of a dignified life. Many of them have placed their hopes on Europe. 90% are under 35 and technically digital natives, more than half have not attended high school. After about a year and a half in reception centers, very few find work. Today there is a different possible future for them, thanks to the first app developed for migrants, available in 3 languages with more than 8,000 quizzes that assess their ambitions and talents. Good morning Chris, tell us about your wonderful initiative.
Chris Richmond: In 2017, we decided to create this educational platform for migrants and refugees with the aim of fully valuing their prior skills, backgrounds, and talents, ensuring that these skills and talents become assets in the job market.
Cristina: What goals are you setting and what results have you achieved?
Chris Richmond: The goal is certainly to innovate the Italian, European, and international asylum system, making sure that even economic migrants and future climate migrants can move freely from point A to point B in a legal and secure manner. Finding a way to generate more trust between migrants and formal financial actors simply means making migrants creditworthy as well.
Cristina: And how many users do you have?
Chris Richmond: After 4 years we have reached over 100,00 active users on the platform. We have about 20% of users who are not in Italy, and are still in the Middle East, Africa or Southeast Asia; we’ve identified about 15,000 highly qualified profiles and supported the job placement of about 1,900 people.
Cristina: An important percentage but low in proportion to the big picture. Why do you think that is?
Chris Richmond: We didn’t set out with the ambition to do job placement, rather to emphasize skills and talent. Over time, as we analyzed the data, we realized that we could aspire to something more and in early 2018 we decided to start testing job placement. 2018, 2019 and to some extent due to the pandemic job placements were reduced and we are focusing on meeting market demands. Definitely IT and technology, translations and interpreters, definitely mechanics and mechatronics, delivery and logistics and obviously sanitation and personal services so, caregivers.
Cristina: Chris, is there a story you’d like to share with us?
Chris Richmond: There are many, certainly the story of a young Tunisian software engineer who arrived in Italy a couple of years ago, who tried to find job opportunities as a dishwasher, entered the platform and after a few weeks showed all his talent. He had 12 job offers and was able to choose which company to work for. After 3 months of internship he was hired with a long term contract testing industrial plants. This is one of the many stories that we were able to transform from a dream into reality.
Cristina: Great job, I really wish you all the best and thank you Chris. This project fulfills six of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals: 1 zero poverty, 4 quality education, 8 decent work, 9 industry innovation and infrastructure, 10 reducing inequality, e 11 sustainable cities and communities. Occhio al futuro
On air May 1st 2021