Hanadi is currently living with her husband in Istanbul, and they have one baby, but she is taking care of her parents who are still in Syria. According to the UN, 80% of people in Syria live below the poverty line. ‘‘I take care of my family financially as much as I can, as they are still in Syria and the economy is bad there,” she said.
Hanadi did not work in her first three years in Turkey, because she didn’t speak Turkish and had a newborn baby. The language barrier was a problem in achieving social harmonization and finding a sustainable job. When Hanadi decided to look for a job in kindergartens, she faced difficulties. She couldn’t teach because the Turkish law has strict rules for hiring foreign teachers. At the time, her baby was less than one year old. That is why she waited until her baby was two years old, then she learned about United Work. The organization carries out a project under BRIDGES Programme in coordination with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KFW-German Development Bank, the project provides career counseling, assists in job placement, pays the work permit application fees and provides wage subsidy in the first two months of employment. Hanadi got this job in Aman Kindergarten as an executive assistant. This job is Hanadi’s first professional work experience in Turkey and this is also the first time she got a work permit in Turkey.
‘‘I heard about United Work’s activity through my friends, and I saw some of the job opportunities and I wanted to contact them to see if there were some job opportunities suitable for me” she said.
She believes that she must increase her chances to get experience and more skills. ‘‘This work changed me and improved me as a person. It improved me on a social level as I can contact and communicate with more people from both Turkish and Syrian communities. Eventually, if you are working in a position that you don’t have much experience in, you need to adapt and get the experience and this job will add skills to you as a person and improve your work experience,’’ she said. Hanadi believes that she has very good relations with Turkish society. Speaking Turkish helped her a lot and she made friends with Turkish people; she did not have much contact with Turkish people before this job. Once Hanadi started working in the kindergarten, she started to talk with other Turkish employees and the management, which improved her conversation skills significantly. Hanadi has great relationships with her Turkish colleagues in her workplace, but she is not going to stop learning new skills and obtaining experience to be more competent in the Turkish job market.