Iva Kubickova, Content Executive   02 October 2019

eight icons on a purple background showing portraits of migrants sharing their quotes about moving abroad

Migrants have always been at the heart of what we do at WorldRemit. We help them with sending much-needed money back home, to either pay for their own bills or to help their loved ones. But that’s not where we stop. Every day, we’re inspired by the stories of people living in the diaspora, people who took the bold move to leave their home countries behind.

What are their reasons for moving? What’s their life been like as a migrant? How did they build a home away from home? We’re continuously bringing you stories full of inspiration, which answer these and many more questions.

On this occasion, we’re looking at what our community champions have told us about being a migrant. We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences.

Hiyaw Gebreyohannes

“Being a migrant has allowed me to be more open and respectful of other cultures, and to be more curious about the world around me. It’s opened the door to relationships with people from other international diaspora communities."

"It’s also expanded my network of people with fascinating and diverse backgrounds. I believe that having the right people around me has been so instrumental in supporting me on my journey.”

African chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes standing in a warehouse talking to a microphone dressed in black“A

Heritage: Born in Djibouti, and raised in Canada
Lives in: Washington D.C., the United States

Hiyaw is a chef, restaurant owner and a founder of the Taste of Ethiopia. His business distributes ‘grab and go’ food boxes nationwide; so all Americans can enjoy the rich palette of Ethiopian flavours from the comfort of their homes. Some of Hiyaws clients include Tyler Perry, Oprah, President Clinton, Google and Goldman Sachs!

Chekwas Okafor

“My cultural identity contributed to my success abroad. Just by default, you’re coming to New York with a different perspective and that helps you see opportunities where others don’t."

"You treat people with empathy and respect because you understand what it feels like to be an outsider. And learning from different cultures helps you to unlearn certain things that you’ve grown up believing. So being Nigerian and having a different culture has been very useful.”

African designer Chekwas Okafor sitting in a white shirt against an orange background“A

Heritage: Born and raised in Nigeria
Lives in: New York, the United States

New York-based Nigerian entrepreneur, Chekwas Okafor, is the founder and CEO of ONCHEK, an e-commerce platform for luxury fashion from Africa.

Miriam Morales

“Sometimes I’m too American for the Puerto Ricans and then too Latina for the Americans. I never really felt that I belonged anywhere, and I hover between two worlds. If you feel the same, it’s important to know that you’re enough and who you are can’t be denied."

"At times in my career, I’ve had to stand firm and let people know that this is who I am: an Afro-Latina with parents from Puerto Rico. My Spanish might not be the greatest, but I don’t deny that I’m a boriqua and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

American actress Miriam Morales in a yellow top sitting outside and smiling to the camera“A

Heritage: Born and raised in America to Puerto Rican parents
Lives in: New York, the United States

Miriam is a television personality and a champion of Latino culture. She had her big break when she was cast in the recurring role of Ramona “Pidge” Contreras on Netflix’s hit show Orange Is The New Black.

Nouel Estrella

“Being a migrant comes with a lot of challenges, and I am lucky to have grown up with a family that travelled. We migrated from one country to another and that helped tremendously with my ability to adapt.”

Chef and restaurant owner Nouel Estrella standing in a harbour wearing a sleeveless top“A

Heritage: Born in the Dominican Republic, she followed her mother on diplomatic missions between Haiti and Paris.
Lives in: Florida, the United States

In 1994, Nouel opened a restaurant in Miami Beach with her business partner, the Mexican singer, Paulina Rubio. She was inspired by L'Entrecôte restaurants in Paris, where you can only order one dish – steak, fries, salad, all topped up with her secret delicious sauce. Now a restaurant consultant, she decided to share the recipe of her secret sauce with the world.

Cassia Cardoso

“If you’re a migrant and are willing to work hard for your dreams and believe in God, then you can achieve everything. I like sharing my personal stories with fellow migrants. It was very challenging to be parted from my two children, who were still living in Brazil at the time."

"I had some days when I couldn’t stop crying, but that only pushed me to find a way for my kids to legally come to the United States. I was able to reunite my whole family four years ago. All of us together, it’s a dream come true.”

Latin American beautician living in the USA Cassia Cardoso standing in a golden top and blue necklace in front of a golden background“A

Heritage: Born and raised in Brazil
Lives in: Florida, the United States

Cassia Cardoso is a mother of three who moved to the United States from Sao Paolo, Brazil in 2008. Cassia is the driving force at Cassia Cardoso Spa in South Florida, where she has won the trust of many Hispanic celebrities, including actress Elizabeth Gutiérrez. Together, they launched a successful skincare line, 'Ely by Cassia'.

Jackson Mvunganyi

“Being a migrant can be quite challenging. You must learn and adapt to new cultures while maintaining your own unique identity. You have to navigate and exist in an environment that can in many ways be hostile to foreigners. I don’t mean hostile in the violent sense of the word, but in the sense of obstacles to finding opportunities to advance yourself."

"I’m talking about finding the means to attend a school or about getting the job offer you desire. My advice is to never stop learning and to never lose hope.”

African radio presenter Jackson Mvunganyi standing in the middle of a colourful street in a blue shirt and a hat“A

Heritage: Rwanda
Lives in: Washington D.C., the United States

Following the troubles in Rwanda’s, Jackson’s parents escaped to Uganda to seek safe asylum for their children. Jackson, now living in the United States, is the founder, producer and editor of interactive radio show Up Front Africa Show. His show promotes an honest conversation on the everyday issues of African people.

Andres Jaramillo

“I didn’t leave my country because I had to. Moving to the United States was always a question of my professional growth. To me, being a migrant is a good thing."

"There’s a lot of paperwork and legalities to get through, but in the end, that’s what helps you grow as an artist and a person. Those obstacles make you stronger and help you learn to overcome the small things in life. It gives you a different perspective and teaches you to overcome difficulties.”

Latino creative designer Andres Jaramillo standing in front of a red bridge in California wearing denim jacket and jeans“A

Heritage: Colombia
Lives in: California, the United States

Born in Colombia, Andres completed his undergraduate degree as an international student at the Miami University of Art and Design. Since then, he’s really made a name for himself. He opened his own design studio with other creatives providing quality visual content for clients such as Disney, Tinder or Marvel.

Jacques Jonathan Nyemb

“Before I left Cameroon, I had no idea about how non-Africans perceive Africa. When I did move - I have to say, it was a real shock. I’m a very proud Cameroonian - proud of what our country has been able to achieve."

"It was shocking to hear that many people overseas regard Africa as a poor place, where people have no knowledge. But my experiences have strengthened my conviction that Africa has so much to offer the world.”

A portrait of a Cameroonian lawyer Jacques Jonathan Nyemb wearing a suit“A

Heritage: Born and raised in Cameroon
Lives in: After living in the UK and France, Jacques has returned to Cameroon

Jacques Jonathan Nyemb is a successful business lawyer from Cameroon, who brings a distinctly African perspective and philosophy to the law. He recently became the youngest board member in the Inter Patronal Groupings of Cameroon (GICAM).

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Being a migrant comes with various challenges. Luckily, sending money back home is no longer one of them. Even if you’re thousands of miles away from the people you care about, your money doesn’t need to be. Whether you’re sending to your mum or your best friend back home, our money transfer service makes it super easy.

Are you a migrant? What would your advice be to someone who’s looking to move abroad? Let us know in the comments.

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