Amira* came to the UK in 2019 from Morocco as a spouse, marrying a British Citizen and settling in Lancashire. She had a very successful career in Morocco as Business Lawyer with a very good income and quality of life with her family and friends.
After moving to the UK, she underwent some very difficult and challenging personal circumstances with her husband and had to leave the family home where she lived with her husband and his family to protect her own safety. It was a last resort and Amira was then offered a place at a women’s refuge in Kirklees. It was during her time at the refuge that she came into contact with the Connecting Opportunities programme at HOT. Through our partner agency Thornton Lodge in Huddersfield, Amira was referred to us and expressed interest in joining the programme.
Initial contact with Amira was made by Surraya Bibi and Shanaz Patel from our Inclusive Integration team to tell Amira about the support on offer through Connecting Opportunities. She was very excited and ready to undertake any support both emotional and educational. Though her journey has been full of turmoil, she is always so positive and wanting to make a future here in the UK. Every time the team speak with her, she is thankful and grateful for having the chance to join our programme.
Since joining Connecting Opportunities through HOT Amira has successfully undertaken and passed her level 3 Teaching Award Qualification, now has a professionally produced up -to date CV and has had a careers guidance interview with an employment practitioner. Through Connecting Opportunities, we were able to pay for Amira’s oversees qualifications to be converted via NARIC, giving her Level 6 qualifications. The impact of this for Amira is she feels that this has greatly improved to her self- esteem and self-worth. Furthermore, courses and training have been explored with her and she has just recently started a Community Interpreting Course at Level 2 whereby she can use her fluent language skills in French and Arabic in order to find employment as an Interpreter.
Amira’s goal is to qualify as a teacher either teaching languages within secondary schools or working with children who have special educational needs. We are currently exploring Higher Education and UCAS for her in order that she can attend University courses in teaching. The only barrier to her for progression onto a teaching degree is having the GCSE English language qualification and in order to overcome this our Inclusive Integration team are now looking at Equivalency Testing as well as exploring Educational Needs courses to add to her experience and skills.
Amira’s success has also led to her being encouraged to become a Connecting Opportunities champion and she is keen to be involved in this. Our team are currently in the process of completing her application for this.
Amira will often tell her key worker at HOT that she has tried to access support from other organisations in the past but with Connecting Opportunities she feels “at home, part of a family”. She has also managed to make some friends through the online Zoom level 3 Teaching Award.
In summary, Amira is feeling very positive about her future – though she is still at the women’s refuge, she is now in a position whereby she can look for and bid for council and housing association properties. She is aware that her keyworker will assist her in helping to set up in her new home once allocated to her, helping her with sourcing furniture and white goods, setting up utility bills etc. Amira is also now in a position to look at Higher Education opportunities and to give herself good job prospects she is also willing to move to large cities like Birmingham and Manchester. The future certainly looks good for Amira.
For more information about Connecting Opportunities click here
*Name and image changed to protect identity.