Maryam’s Story

Maryam’s Story
Maryam came to the UK from Pakistan to get married. She joined Mustard Tree in January 2018, after escaping an abusive relationship hoping to rebuild her confidence and to find work.

“I felt isolated and left out – like I existed but wasn’t really present”.

Before joining Mustard Tree, Maryam had fled an abusive marriage. The traumatic experiences brought on feelings of anxiety and depression.

“I could not communicate very well or speak any English. I was always hesitating and sometimes couldn’t understand conversations, which led to me avoiding people. I became more and more isolated, and there were times when I went without food for days. I didn’t feel like I could ask for help, because I wanted to learn to stand on my own two feet – to feel strong and proud”.

Maryam found out about Mustard Tree during her pursuit of language skills courses.

“I first came to Mustard Tree on a Freedom Project open day, not understanding a single word of English and having nobody to translate for me. Peter, one of the Freedom Coordinators, was brilliant in his encouragement and helping me understand how they could help. I joined the Freedom Project and began attending customer service classes”.

            “After three months, I felt like I could start to breathe again”.

“As my confidence grew, I began working in areas that allowed me to speak to the public. I especially enjoyed working on reception, as I could talk to lots of different people, which helped me learn about UK culture. My favourite thing is helping people, and Mustard Tree gave me courage and showed me the path to take to achieve my goals.

After attending Freedom Project courses and building self-confidence, Maryam reached a stage where she could start to achieve her employment goals. The customer service training helped her secure a temporary job at Lush, from which she began to pursue a work placement opportunity through Mustard Tree. The opportunity came via The Lowry Hotel.

“The work placement helped me choose my career, where I can apply and what I have the skills for”.

“I was interested in a placement because I didn’t know how an office worked, I had an idea of admin and that I wanted to do it, but Rachel (The Lowry Hotel) explained to me what her responsibilities were and what techniques and skills were important for her job. She talked me through her daily tasks and helped cement what I wanted to do”.

Maryam’s newly discovered sureness shone through during her placement, receiving excellent feedback from Rachel – Executive Assistant to the General Manager:

“Maryam has been absolutely fantastic! Her confidence has grown massively during her two weeks with The Lowry Hotel and she has picked everything up so quickly. She has been a real pleasure to work with and we wish her all the very best”.

“Mustard Tree has been my playground to play and learn”.

Maryam is now looking to expand on her placement experience and continue working towards her goals.

“My dream is to get a good job and to see myself as a good citizen of the UK. I want people to see me and think I have done good things. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone, now I know people think I am inspiring and worth something.

Thank you for everything the team did for me. I will always remember Mustard Tree”.

You can download our Freedom Project Enquiry (Ancoats Hub) Form for our central Manchester hub, or the Freedom Project Enquiry (Salford Hub) Form for our Salford hubs.  Email it to us at

You can also of course post it to us – find us here or for further information, please call us on 07803 428 709 / 0161 850 2282.

Click here form more information about our Freedom Project and how we can help.

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