*Name has been changed and stock photo used to protect identity
Farah* moved to the UK to seek asylum and start a new life in Manchester. Originally from Iran, Farah had an education and had many jobs in her home country, but when she moved to the UK, she felt she had lost everything. Farah came to Mustard Tree, looking to build back confidence and find her old self …
Farah joined The Freedom Project in May 2021. Farah says she was in a depression and consulting a doctor before she came to Mustard Tree. Farah came to Mustard Tree with a friend and attended a Freedom Open Day. Afterwards, Farah decided she’d like to join The Freedom Project and started training on the Retail Work Stream.
Originally from Iran, Farah had many jobs and lots of experience in her home country. “All my life I was working. When I came to the UK, I lost my confidence, because I had everything in my own country” says Farah “When I came here, I lost everything – family, job, I even lost the confidence to talk face-to-face with people. It made me sad that I wasn’t working, being busy, talking to people and being part of society”
At first, Farah was nervous because she wasn’t confident in her ability to speak English but was put at ease by the welcome of the staff and her Freedom Coordinator, Peter. “At the start, it was a little difficult for me, but the team were so friendly” says Farah “I’m really thankful to Peter, because he trusted and believed in me. All the team pushed me to find my confidence.”
From the very start of her placement, Farah’s friends noticed a change in her, as her confidence began to grow and grow. “Because I am a foreigner, opportunities are less for me. People might think we don’t have an education – they look at us differently. In my country, I was a manager, and I had an education” says Farah “It can be difficult to find yourself in a new country. That’s the thing about Mustard Tree – they give you the space to feel you’re in your own home. The way people treat you here is different”. In July 2021, Farah was granted refugee status in UK, which allowed her to claim benefits, enter paid employment and access many of the same rights as any other UK citizen.
Farah attended Mustard Tree’s Job Club, and with the help of the team created a new CV. In September 2021 Farah started an external placement with a 5-star Hotel, completing one week in Hospitality and one week in the Spa.
Farah successfully completed her external placement and graduated from The Freedom Project in December 2021.
After graduating, Peter got in touch and notified her about a position opening on the Mustard Tree Team. “Peter said how would you like to work here full time? And I couldn’t believe there was opportunity for me to have a job here”. Farah applied for the job and had an interview. Soon after, Farah was offered the job as a Mustard Tree Retail Coordinator.
“I was a volunteer first and now I am staff. I feel completely different from my first day. It’s 180 degrees. I have a job in the UK, and I know I’ve done good” Farah says, “I feel I’ve proved myself.”
“I am really appreciative of everyone here at Mustard Tree, I never feel I am a stranger here.”