International Migrants Day: Abstracta’s contributions to the community

More than 10% of the people who work at Abstracta are migrants, and many of them are now growing in the company. On the other hand, we generate programs for migrants or refugees outside the Abstracta community. Find out why all this is so relevant and read some testimonials in this article, to understand how all this impacts our society and to understand the importance of organizational actions in this regard.

The stories of Carmen Rivas, Thaygel Suárez, and Meuris Medina show the impact of migrants having access to good opportunities. In the photo, they are at the first edition of the Quality Sense Conf with 3 members of Abstracta: Federico Toledo, COO; Arcadio Abad, software testing leader; and Florencia Ripa, in charge of the programs ReconverTIte and Abstracta Academy.

By Natalie Rodgers

The contribution of migrants to the labor market is invaluable in our globalized society. Working to offer them opportunities for labor insertion and growth is an action loaded with meanings: to collaborate with their social integration and help them improve their quality of life; to build a fairer and more diverse society, with equal opportunities; and to contribute to the economic development of society, through their contributions.

“There are several factors that influence population movements. These movements, which can be voluntary or forced, are the result of disasters, economic crises and situations of extreme poverty or conflict, whose magnitude and frequency are constantly increasing…”, the UN’s official website states. “Thanks to their knowledge, networks, and skills, migrants contribute to building stronger and more resilient communities,” continues.

At Abstracta, we are fully aware of the great contributions that migrants and refugees can make to our society through their diverse stories. In what way? Thanks to their resilience, perseverance, and adaptability, which are valuable skills in the IT industry. So, in addition to their social inclusion being key to a more egalitarian society, their individual perspectives and ways of doing things translate into essential contributions to our daily work.

Diversity and interculturalism in companies inevitably enrich organizational cultures through broader perspectives. The management of affirmative action in this aspect is fundamental to promoting equal opportunities and, at the same time, the growth of corporations.

That is why at Abstracta, a company made up of more than 150 people, more than 10% of the total are migrants living in Uruguay. They come from Cuba, Paraguay, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, we have members working for the company from other countries, some of whom also underwent migration processes.

Arcadio Abad Márquez is Cuban, a Computer Science Engineer, who arrived in Uruguay in September 2015, in search of fertile land, with good conditions to put down roots and raise a family. 

“We didn’t bring a lot of money and, we had to get a job before it ran out. Being hired by Abstracta was the opportunity to raise my head and say: come on, you can do it! I was able to start dreaming big and bring peace of mind to my family“, said Arcadio, who today works as a software testing leader and makes great contributions to his teams and local and international projects.

Arcadio at an Abstracta end-of-year party in Trinidad, Uruguay.

Born in Paraguay, Romina Bernal Romero emigrated to Uruguay in search of a better future for herself and her children. She is currently in court to bring them to live with her in the country that sheltered her. Currently, she is working as a software tester at Abstracta.

“My emigration was very hard, and carrying it out was one of the hardest things I have ever decided to do in my life. Without all the welfare that Abstracta provides me, I would possibly still be at a completely different point. Today I enjoy life, and I have the tools to fight for what I long for”.

Romina at the time of her migration, in the midst of the pandemic and full of uncertainties.

Looking Outward

Beyond our own people, we are interested in extending this type of action outward to have a positive impact on society. Therefore, when we have the possibility, we generate programs to help socially and economically integrate migrants in the communities in which we are inserted through Abstracta, with the company as a platform for change.

With this purpose, in 2021 we offered free access to the Software Tester course at Abstracta Academy to a group of 35 migrants or refugees living in Canelones, Uruguay. This was a joint initiative between Abstracta, the Municipality of Canelones, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The objective was to help them in their labor reconversion to the IT industry.

Most of them are women and mothers that were born in Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia. Some of the group already had a higher level degree or diploma from their country of origin at the time of starting the course, but most of them had had problems with its revalidation, which was a problem when looking for a job. This affected their quality of life, so they were looking for a change in order to move forward. 

Undoubtedly, the development of the course was more complex for those who had problems with accessibility, connectivity, and difficulties in relation to their housing situation, with different needs and violated rights. 

Even so, despite the different personal situations and obstacles faced by this population, more than 20 people completed the entire course and graduated as junior testers. Six of them are now fully inserted in the IT industry, through spaces such as Jóvenes A Programar, upCamp, Abstracta Academy, Global, Concepto, and Visanet. 

The stories of Carmen Rivas, Meuris Medina, and Thaygel Suárez demonstrate the impact of this type of opportunity in our society, and the importance of organizational actions in this regard. They are three women born in Venezuela who migrated to Uruguay in search of a better quality of life and a better future for themselves and their families. 

Carmen is 35 years old, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, with a Mention in Spanish and Literature, and a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing. In 2018, she emigrated to Uruguay. In 2021, she had been unemployed for 2 years when she accessed Abstracta Academy’s Software Tester course. The same year, she accessed Abstracta’s Scrum FEM program, also for free, and graduated there as a Scrum Master. 

Thaygel studied Telecommunications Engineering, he did not finish his degree but he acquired great knowledge there that is very useful for him today. She is 35 years old and has been living in Uruguay since 2019, after going through a long migration process. The experience in the program helped her to renew her strength to reinsert herself in the labor market. 

Meuris has a degree in Business Administration, with a specialization in Industrial Management. She is 49 years old and has more than 10 years of work experience in this area. She has been living in Uruguay for 4 years. After graduating as a junior tester at Abstracta Academy, she continued her training through courses offered by the platform through Abstracta’s ReconverTite program. She had free access because he was part of the program for migrants.

– Why did you migrate to Uruguay?

Carmen: The socio-political reality and the destruction of the country’s economic system reached the point where my salary as a professional in the educational field was not enough to eat, not even with what I earned from two other jobs I had on the side. although I had a house and a car, I preferred to start from scratch. To look for a quality of life and to be able to support my family, who stayed in my country. 

Thaygel: Given the economic crisis, in 2017 we planned to emigrate and we succeeded in 2018. In the first instance, we went to Peru. Being there helped us to stabilize a bit, but honestly, it is not a country that is very supportive of the migrant. After a year of trying to support ourselves there, we came up with the idea of migrating again. My husband had a Venezuelan-Uruguayan friend with whom he worked for many years, and he suggested Uruguay as an option. 

After studying the possibilities and making sure he would arrive with a job, my husband emigrated. I stayed alone in Peru, with 3 children, while he husband settled down. After 4 months, we migrated to Uruguay with my children, on a bus trip that lasted 15 days through Brazil… That was the way we finally arrived at our destination, in December 2019. It was not only the proposal of a better job for my husband that attracted us, but all the information I found about what the country could offer my kids as migrants in Uruguay.

Meuris: We left our country due to the great social, political, and economic decomposition that our homeland has been suffering. The memories are very painful, and I prefer not to dive into them right now…

– Of course, let’s move forward. Why did you decide to study at Abstracta Academy?

Carmen: Despite my degree, with its revalidation, and the experience of 10 years in the field of education, when I arrived here I did not manage to insert myself in any company, and I ended up in the countryside working as a rural laborer to survive and earn money to send my family. In 2021, I had the opportunity to be selected to participate in the initiative of UNHCR, the Municipality and Abstracta, to train women and foreign mothers in the Software Tester course. It was a great opportunity that under no other circumstances could I have paid for with my unemployed status.

Thaygel: While I had a background in technology, software test analyst was an unfamiliar term to me. I researched what it was and what the academy offered its graduates, and I was hooked on everything. Click after click, my curiosity for new terms, techniques, and tools grew. I applied and was selected, which continued with me being welcomed by a group of 35 people who were looking for this job retraining, with high expectations of it.

Meuris: I wanted to start updating myself on new technologies since my arrival in Uruguay I had dedicated myself to the adaptation of my family to this beautiful country. Then, I had some health problems that prevented me from starting to work, and I felt that I was disconnected to new work methodologies. With this in mind, I decided to train in something that had a high employment potential. Being selected for the program was a great opportunity. 

Once it was over, Abstracta stayed in touch with the participants of the program, supporting and bringing the group closer to job opportunities, inviting them to more courses for free, and providing opportunities to participate in more programs and initiatives, such as Scrum Fem and UpCamp.

– Where do you work today? 

Carmen: I have been an instructor at Abstracta Academy for 5 months. I plan to become a Technical Tester and continue learning and growing.

Thaygel: I have been working as a QA at GlobalUy since June 2021. I have been able to apply the knowledge I learned in the projects I joined, and I continue to learn many things from the hand of a great team. I have been able to count on their support to continue studying new techniques and attending lectures, always fulfilling my responsibilities, which I think is fantastic.

Meuris: I am part of the internship program offered by Abstracta’s spin-off named UpCamp. I’ve been there since November 2022, with the role of QA Manual. I am living a pleasant experience, in a collaborative environment among all the work teams, under the leadership of guides and instructors thanks to whom today I know that what I am doing is what I want to do for the rest of my working life. It was a great emotion for me to be able to enter here, it is an opportunity to be able to practice what I have studied and practiced so much until now.

– In summary, how did studying software testing in the program offered by Abstracta for migrants or refugees change your life? 

Carmen: It gave me the opportunity to insert myself as a professional and skilled laborer in the workplace. Feeling that what you know (knowledge/culture) is worth it and that you get paid for it, is the most pleasant thing that has happened to me since I arrived in Uruguay. Thanks to all the knowledge acquired in the program, I was able to get a job and I can dream again of a good future for my family.

Thaygel: Professionally, it generated great expectations in me, and I was able to carry out well-defined plans to continue working in my career as a tester. At the end of the program, I stayed in contact with my fellow colleagues, we continued to add knowledge and share information about jobs. Thanks to this network, I ended up applying for a job on Linkedin at the company where I am currently working as a QA. 

Another big change I noticed as a result of all this was in my mood. Accessing a job helped me feel better about myself, and achieve financial stability for a family of 6. 

Meuris: It showed me a whole new life, from a tester’s point of view. Honestly, I don’t think I would have become a manual QA if it hadn’t been for the methodological way Abstracta Academy teaches. It has been an intense personal and training process. It has made me come clean, with what I know, what I feel, what I have, what I want, and what I need. 

Although I have not yet found a formal job, my growth as an integral human being has been on the rise, and I am confident that in time I will be able to find a job with upCamp, since they are committed to accompanying me in my job search. This will undoubtedly translate into a significant improvement in my family’s quality of life and in our future. For me, individually, all this is also an affection for my self-esteem, highly battered in recent times by my history as an immigrant, accentuated by my age and by being a woman.

Does your company take action to contribute to equal opportunities? How do you do it? Tell us in the comments!

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