The International Center for Refugees and Migration Studies (ICRMS) hosted a significant event, the Afghan Refugee Empowerment: Bank Account Opening Session, which took place at the BUITEMS Training Hall on September 8, 2023, running from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. The primary goal of this event was to address the considerable challenges faced by Afghan refugee students, entrepreneurs, and small-scale business owners when attempting to open bank accounts.
Distinguished guest speakers from prominent banks, including Ms. Nigar Afreen representing Allied Bank, Mr. Ramis Azzam James from Mezan Bank, and Mr. Syed Jahanzaib of Habib Bank Limited, shared their valuable insights and expertise. During the event, Mr. Syed Jahanzaib delved into the intricacies of student account openings, Ms. Nigar Afreen provided a detailed overview of business account processes, and Mr. Ramis Azzam James discussed small-scale business account considerations.
The speakers emphasized the importance of welcoming refugees to open bank accounts but also highlighted the challenges posed by expired or invalid legal identification. The session was not only informative but also interactive, with participants engaging in discussions regarding freelancing, e-commerce account openings, and the policies of the State Bank of Pakistan. The event concluded with the distribution of informative pamphlets and certificates to participants, underscoring the commitment to knowledge sharing and empowerment. Notably, Ms. Shabina, Field Associate UNHCR, was present to support and witness the positive impact of this initiative. In essence, the Afghan Refugee Empowerment session organized by ICRMS served as a vital platform for addressing the complexities of bank account openings for Afghan refugees, promoting awareness, and fostering collaboration between refugees and financial institutions. In the end, Dr. Rahila, Director of ICRMS, Shehzad, Project Manager at ICRMS, and Ms. Shabina, Field Coordinator at ICRMS, presented shields and certificates to the three guest speakers.