These people have rebuilt their lives in Wolverhampton, after fleeing war and persecution
Muhayimana from Rwanda.
Muhayimana, from Rwanda was employed as a business manager with an international company in her country.
When war started in 1994, Muhayimana fled Rwanda and spent 2 years in a refugee camp in Congo, where she found employment as a tracing officer with the International Committee of the Red Cross, working to reunite displaced/dispersed family members.
War began in Congo in 1996, so Muhayimana and her family went into hiding in the jungle, until they managed to flee to the UK to seek asylum in 2004.
On arrival in the UK, Muhayimana and her family were sent to the West Midlands as part of asylum seeker dispersal programme. In 2006, Muhayimana started ESOL Course at the City of Wolverhampton College and at The Learning College in Wolverhampton, where she gained qualifications in English, computing and accountancy.
Two years later, Muhayimana was offered a place on a business degree course at Wolverhampton University. Her course included a one year work placement with the Refugee & Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton, which enabled her to gain experience in the UK labour market.
When she completed her studies, Muhayimana was offered a post as an administrator at Wolverhampton City Council working with asylum seekers, refugees and migrant’s team.
While working for Wolverhampton City Council, Muhayimana found spare time to enrol for free Citizenship and “Life in the UK Test” practical weekly workshops at the Refugee & Migrant Centre. She passed the test after only one attempt and obtained a certificate.
In July 2011, Muhayimana surrounded by many friends and family, attended the British Citizenship Ceremony in Wolverhampton, and is now looking forward to completing her Master’s Degree in Business Studies. She says that she is settled and happy, and feels that the UK offers her and her family a safe, secure place to live and plan for her future.
Akhundzada from Afghanistan.
Akhundzada, from Afghanistan had worked as a nurse in Kandahar province before fleeing to the UK in 2005 to seek for asylum, protection and safety.
In 2006, the war in his home town of Kandahar had intensified and for fear of his life and family Akhundzada, with wife and two children fled to Pakistan to seek for protection and safety.
With savings from his previous work as a nurse and financial support from relatives, Akhundzada arranged for a trafficker to get them out from Pakistan to seek for asylum in the West.
Akhundzada and family arrived in the UK town of Dover and applied for asylum in 2008 after 2 years of travelling from country to country. As part of the dispersal programme, the Akhundzada’s were dispersed to the West Midlands.
With difficulties resulting from poor English Akhundzada found life in the UK very unbearable and tedious. He had hoped to find employment in nursing, but this was hard to achieve in a short term.
After 1 year of hardship, Mr Akhundzada was referred to the Refugee and Migrant Centre by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council for volunteer placement and to help to interpret for Afghan clients even with his poor grasp of English language.
Within a short space of time, and after constant interaction and communication with fellow volunteers, staff and clients at the Refugee and Migrant Centre, Mr Akundzada’s English improved tremendously and his chances of pursuing a career in nursing also improved greatly.
Mr Akhundzada’s confidence and self-esteem grew day by day and with the help of the Refugee and Migrant Centre, he enrolled to City of Wolverhampton College to undertake a course in Employability and personal Development.
This course enabled him to develop key personal skills, qualities and attributes required by employers as well as to help him progress in education. In July 2010, Mr Akhunzada completed the course and gained a qualification in Employability and Personal Development Entry Level 2 to Level 2.
On completion of this course, Mr Akhundzada applied for an internal advert at the Refugee and Migrant Centre and secured a part time position as Advice Caseworker.
Mr Akhundzada is now able to support his family financially and their life has changed for the better, and in September 2010, he had started a part time Course in Nursing at City of Wolverhampton College and also continuing to improve his English language skills. He hopes this course will give him further options to secure a job in nursing.
Jeanette from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jeanette was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1974. She is a Lingala, French and English speaker, and in 1999 she graduated from University in Zambia with a diploma in public health and nursing.
On her return home, she gained a job working for the government, but her boss was sent to prison and killed there. Fearing that she might be next, Jeanette with husband and children fled the country and arrived in the UK in 2002, where they became refugees.
Jeannette was unsuccessful in gaining a job in public health in the UK, but she worked occasionally as a freelance interpreter for various public bodies including hospitals.
Jeanette was dispersed to Sunderland, then to Peterborough and finally to Walsall. Whilst volunteering at Walsall CAB, Jeanette was successful for a grant for IAG (Information Advice and Guidance) course, coordinated by Learning and Skills Council.
After completion of this course, Jeanette then applied for a job at Walsall CAB as an outreach worker for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.
This was not easy feat, since Jeanette had been turned down for jobs many times before and her Zambian Diploma was not recognised.
In 2006, Jeannette was offered a place at the University of Wolverhampton to pursue a Degree in Public Health, and in 2008 she completed her Bachelor Degree with flying colours.
Jeanette determination and confidence increased day by day, and in August 2010, she continued for her Master’s Degree in public health.
In August 2010 Jeanette was offered a research placement at the Refugee and Migrant in Wolverhampton, to interview 7 (seven) refugee and asylum seeking women as part of the data collection required to complete her studies.
Jeanette’s postgraduate research degree was mainly focused on ‘Exploration of the experiences of refugee women in relation to areas of unmet health needs”. Jeanette surrounded by her family, and friends graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a Distinction in Msc Degree in Public Health in August 2011.
Jeanette says that IAG course had been a life changing experience and useful in enabling her to understand the systems and UK work related culture, and that her career is up and running smoothly.
Abdi from Somalia.
Abdi is a 33 years old from Somalia. He came to the UK as an asylum seeker in 2004 after fleeing his country for political reasons.
Abdi’s wife and children were unable to join him in the UK at first, but eventually they gained permission because of the UK government’s policy of family reunion.
Abdi’s first language is Arabic and Somali and his English is of good standard. He has a university degree in accountancy, which he obtained whilst as a refugee in Kenya. He worked with an international NGO in Kenya as an accountant and managing teams of people.
Initially he found life difficult in the UK. However, with the support of Refugee Employment and Training Advocacy Forum (RETAF) and IAG, coordinated through LSC, Abdi was introduced to a local organisation where he became a volunteer and attended adult education classes in order to learn about UK accountancy systems.
The Learning and Skills Council negotiated with a range of funding bodies in order to find the fees necessary for him to undertake a SAGE course and work experience to enable him to sit his level 4 AAT (Association of accounting Technicians) exams.
Abdi’s motivation and confidence increased, and Abdi was successful in his application for part time work as Administrator at Wolverhampton Citizen Advisory Bureau. This salaried position enabled Abdi to support his wife and children financially, and he is proving a great asset to the organisation. However, Abdi is continuing to look for full time employment in accountancy, with the aim of re-entering the field of his expertise.