Through the eyes of Farid

12 missed calls. 24 messages on WhatsApp. 31 unread emails. And it’s only 9:30 am.

A year ago, this hectic schedule would all seem like a dream, and maybe a bit overwhelming. Yet in little under a year’s time this life went from a far off reality to a daily sprint. 

For Farid, a 23-year-old from Afghanistan, the goal has always been clear, but the road to get there has been a bit of a maze. When he started his project, Public Relations Development, more commonly known as PRD, in 2018 he had one mission: accelerate the economic autonomy of refugees in France. 

2018 was a year of testing. Over a series of 6 innovation labs with PLACE, Farid surrounded himself with his growing community he was looking to serve. Newcomers from Bangladesh, Mali, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Syria – all feeding him the constraints to make PRD relevant and scalable. With this community he was able to test the best approach – CV workshops, accessible clothing shops, online remote consultancies – every idea was explored, every voice was counted. Able to flow freely between English and Urdu, Farid was heavily coached by Devika, PLACE’s Programs & Learning Manager, who pushed him to dare to grow.

2019 was a year of action. Through PLACE Farid was matched with Schoolab, a Paris-based incubator with Silicon Valley roots. With an expanding network, he was ready to take PRD to the next level. With the support of the Mairie de Paris, he was able to get PRD’s operations off the ground, but his aim was to create a financially sustainable and autonomous system for refugee employment. In little under one year, with the support of PLACE, Schoolab and the community that stands behind him – that is exactly what he did. 

His first step was to open a restaurant in the outskirts of Paris that prioritizes the hiring of refugees. Turning in profit in a matter of a few months, Farid sold his first investment to one of its first employees in October 2019. Following its success, Farid’s second foray into the restaurant business will be opening its doors in early 2020 in the bustling 18th arrondissement of Paris. 

With his restaurants Farid has the impact and financial stability he was looking for – but not the scale. But he didn’t have to look further than his phone to see an opportunity to work with the master of scale – Uber. His idea was simple: identify, train and support refugees to work for Uber Eats. With a community of over 1000 motivated newcomers, the global giant was more than eager to partner with PRD. 

The results?

people employed through PRD’s restaurants

people trained and employed with UberEats

people employed through other PRD support programs

registered in their system waiting for more opportunities - all of whom are from a recent refugee background.

Growth is rarely comfortable. It can be overwhelming, albeit at times lonely. But with a strong community of peers and mentors, a steady pace and an unfailing sense of humility, Farid navigates his daily to-do all the while keeping his mind on the end goal: to accelerate the economic autonomy of refugees in France.