Renée Dijkhuis: "There is so much more than what media tells us about Refugees"

Renée Dijkhuis: "There is so much more than what media tells us about Refugees"


There is so much more than what media tells us about Refugees


1. Could you tell us a bit about your background and what you are working on at Refugees Forward?

My name is Renée Dijkhuis, I studied at hotel school in The Hague, and I did two internships in South Africa and Madrid. After my graduation in 2016 I worked at an employment agency but I decided to do Masters in Business Administration.However, currently I’m doing an internship at ING, before my Masters starts in September this year. My internship is focused on HR, specifically focused on diversity and inclusion. Our department strives for equal opportunities of employees regardless of their background such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age or physical ability. During my internship I saw that David, the co-founder of RF, posted about RF on Facebook group, and I was intrigued by it as I thought it is relevant to my internship at ING as well. So I’m a student consultant now, working with entrepreneurs developing their business ideas.


2. What motivates you in life?

I think what motivates me is my passion for HR: making sure that people feel like they are at the right place. I guess helping others and giving back to society is what motivates me in life.


3. What did you learn from the people involved in this program?

One of the most interesting things I have learned so far through the incubator program is that through the stories of the entrepreneurs I realised that there is so much more than the media tells us about refugees. I learned that there are so many talented refugees and that their home countries are often such beautiful and diverse countries. In this way I gained a much more positive image about other countries and refugees thanks to all the entrepreneurs real stories.


4. Do you have any key figures in life that inspired or deeply influenced you?

Non-public figure wise, my mom has definitely influenced me a lot. She studied sociology and works at Rutgers, a non-profit organisation, an organisation that strives for equal sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has inspired me to do something good for the world, and help others, not only strive for personal gain.

Among many public figures, Emma Watson always inspires me. She’s very active for “He for she”, and “Time’s up” campaign. I like how she puts a lot of effort and strives towards the common goals, not necessarily for herself but also for the next generations.


5. Why did you join RF?

As my internship at ING is about HR, especially focused on diversity, and inclusion, I thought RF could be a perfect opportunity where newcomers are empowered. The whole incubator program is connected to my business administration background, and I knew that I can definitely add something for the entrepreneurs of RF.