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Maryam

Refugee volunteer from Iran
Now working for a charity in Sheffield

I got my Indefinite Leave to Remain status a few years ago, but I didn’t feel ready to work. I was very nervous. Every week, I was seeing my psychiatrist. I was in a bad situation. In my country I had a good job, but I lost all my confidence.

My psychiatrist suggested I try some volunteer work. I started as an advice worker.

At the start, this was a really embarrassing time for me! When I had to make some phone calls, my hand was shaking! But after a few weeks, I started to relax and feel comfortable.

Thanks to the volunteering, I saw my psychiatrist less and less, and now I don’t see them at all. After a few months of volunteering, I was thinking, “I can work now”.

I developed a lot of skills from the volunteering. Particularly talking on the telephone! It was really good for me as well to meet the people from different cultures, people with different languages.

After a few months, the charity I volunteered for, they advertised a job in the office. I applied for the job and I got it!

I like my job, because it is a combination of things. One day I am working with the client, the other day I am working in the office. This work is really nice. The main thing for me is it helps asylum seekers.

If I want to compare myself to five years ago, now I can do whatever I want.


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