Refugee from Guinea:
Now working for the Refugee Council in Hull
I joined my husband in Sheffield in 2005 with my kids. I had indefinite leave to remain and permission to work.
I am a nurse by profession, but I have done many other types of work – mainly with refugees. My work has taken me to many different countries, even working for such organisations as the United Nations. So I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, to get the work I liked again. But it wasn’t so straightforward.
I was still quite lucky. I got my first paid job quickly. But it was not work which was interesting to me. I couldn’t feel I was achieving something. Even my boss told me: “You need to go out there and find something that you like”. I had interviews with refugee organisations in Sheffield, but every time they tell me, you don’t have UK-based experience working with refugees. That’s why I decided to go into volunteering.
I can’t say this was easy, given that my husband was a student at the time. We struggled for a bit. But there was a happy ending!
My post as a volunteer was actually advising other refugees and asylum seekers on volunteering. I learnt how to advise people. I developed my telephone skills. Before I was really nervous every time I picked up the phone. The volunteering allowed me to have the confidence that I have now. And the people where I was volunteering really helped me, coaching me for my job applications and interviews.
Now I have paid work that I enjoy. I am a project worker in Hull supporting refugee families. This is very interesting for me. I feel I am achieving something. I love the work I’m doing now.