The Story Behind TEN

Inspired by Refugee Claimants and Employers, Created to Spark Systems Change


The Barriers

The Transforming Employment Narratives professional development program and ideas incubator for systems change came out of Kinbrace’s observation, throughout its 25 years of working with and living alongside refugee claimants, of them being underemployed in Canada despite their professional and educational experiences.


As Kinbrace explored more deeply into refugee claimants’ struggle of being underemployed, we recognized there were 3 primary barriers refugee claimants face in their employment journeys in Canada:


Preconceived Notions About Refugee Claimants


Lack Of Targeted Opportunities For Refugee Claimants


A Need for Recertifying, Reskilling, or Upskilling To Gain Meaningful Employment

With those 3 primary barriers identified, we realized that the issues were actually systemic, and that systems change was necessary to remove those barriers.


TEN is the first step towards systems change in overcoming those barriers and helping refugee claimants and employers flourish together.

Together, we will spark systems change for refugee claimants’ employment through mutual transformation and shifting mindsets.

Who are Refugee Claimants?

People in Canada’s Inland Refugee Protection System are referred to as Refugee Claimants, Convention Refugees, Asylum Seekers, or Persons in Need of Protection, depending on their stage in the protection process. People in Canada’s Inland Refugee Protection System are not the same as Resettled Refugees.


Refugee claimants often arrive in Canada without housing, struggle to find the most basic shelter, housing, and face a complex matrix of barriers including culture, language, isolation, limited financial resources, struggle with employment, post-traumatic stress, and discrimination.


In 2022, The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported 92,100 Asylum Claims in Canada (BC welcomed 3,905 refugee claimants in 2022). Even with a work permit, many refugee claimants struggle to find meaningful employment.


For Refugee Claimants, finding meaningful employment goes beyond making an income, it is about achieving financial mobility, contributing to their new country, and gaining a sense of belonging in their new community.


The Idea


With the support of WES Mariam Assefa Fund, SPARC BC, and Vancity, we developed TEN as a pilot professional development program and ideas incubator for systems change to break down barriers and help refugee claimants achieve financial mobility.

TEN incorporates and includes anti-oppression training, trauma-informed care, learning journeys, and scenarios design. Participants will include stakeholders from across the system in order to envision a range of potential futures that could come from taking different paths.


The project focuses on shifting the mindsets, belief systems, narratives, and intended actions of participants around refugee claimants’ employment journeys and engages them in a relationship building process with one another. If amplified, this program could transform, displace, and overturn current systems and increase the employment of refugee claimants and success of employers.

Apply to join the TEN program

Curating our group is an important part of what makes the program impactful. We want to create a diverse mix of people, across multiple intersections with varying levels of power and influence. Once you submit an application, we will follow-up to have a conversation and make sure it is a good fit for us both.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or concerns or are unsure if this is the right program for you, contact Project Coordinator, Mohammed Zaqout at