From life under conflict in Iraq, to new tech skills and connecting to the future of work

Layth’s education was disrupted as militants took over Mosul and schools were destroyed. Photo: WFP/WVI/Mustafa Ali.
Watch Layth’s story narrated by himself and filmed by his friend Mustafa who shares Layth’s passion for visual production. Both Layth and Mustafa attended WFP’s EMPACT classes in Mosul, Iraq.

“I lost three long years of studies; I would have been at university by now.”

By the time the Iraqi forces retook Mosul in 2017, Layth’s family home in the western part of the city had been reduced to ruins. While the city is being rebuilt, some damage can never be undone, however. The memories of violence, hunger, and loss are still painful to Layth years later. “I lost many friends, including the love of my life,” he says. “We knew each other from school since I was eight.”

Layth and his friend Mustafa are graduates of EMPACT in Iraq. Their newfound skills will inspire young people to keep following their dreams and gain employment, while Mosul is being rebuilt. Photo: WFP/WVI/Mustafa Ali.

“Not only did I learn to code, but I now know how to manage my professional career and business.”

Through EMPACT, Layth met like-minded people and made long-lasting friendships. He believes that for every story of struggle and sorrow, there is also one of healing and joy.


EMPACT supports displaced and food-insecure young people to unlock their true potential and kickstart careers in the technology sectors in Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. Through partnerships with the private sector, EMPACT provides short, focused practical training in digital, soft and language skills and connects the students with online, remote and local IT jobs. Globally, more than 13,000 refugees and food-insecure youth gained access to online work opportunities and built viable livelihoods through EMPACT.

Read more about WFP’s EMPACT innovation project.



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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

Sourcing, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations to disrupt hunger.