You need to come to my house! You need to see what I’ve done. I have furniture, a TV, a fridge. I find it difficult to go out because it’s so cosy. My daughter is studying computer science and I’ve bought her a computer. I’ve been working less than six months, but I have bedding, a dining set, wardrobes and a sofa!
It wasn’t always like this. Years ago, when I came to the UK, me and my 13-year-old daughter spent two nights on the streets before we found a boarding house. You enter the house at 10pm and then you must leave in the morning and try to find another room again that night. Finally, the Home Office put us in a hotel. And then another hotel. And then another boarding house – this time with our own room and bathroom. We were there for five days before we were moved to a house.
Breaking Barriers helped me. Before my employment advisors, Sam, and then Maria, worked with me, I didn’t know anything about looking for a job, CVs, covering letters, interview skills or anything.
The struggle I went through almost broke me. I didn’t know how to talk to people. I just liked to be in my room, I didn’t go out. We didn’t have money. It was only because of my daughter that I went to get food.
Back in Nigeria I owned my own, successful business. I had people working for me. But in the UK, I had no idea how to find work. When Vicky, from Bond Board (one of Breaking Barriers referral partners) asked if she could introduce me to Breaking Barriers, I said yes. I was so eager. Because it’s another journey. It’s not like you get your right to remain, your papers, and that’s it. It’s all new beginnings – a new bank account, a new home, a new job.
Breaking Barriers helped me. Before my employment advisors, Sam, and then Maria, worked with me, I didn’t know anything about looking for a job, CVs, covering letters, interview skills or anything. In interviews, how do I answer the question “tell me about yourself?” Where would I even start?
When you are working you are independent. You don’t rely on anybody. You have freedom, stability and security, you take your own money, and you use it however you want.
I was asked what I wanted to do, I said “I want to go into care”. People came to my aid. People supported me. People helped me. For the first five years I want to give back and share the love that people had shown to me. Later I want to go into business or have my own bar where people can talk loudly, sing and dance. But for now, let me give back.
I got a job as a support worker helping autistic children from the time they leave school, until they go back to school the next day. I go to their home, help bathe them, clean them, take them to the park. Wherever they want to go, I go with them. I enjoy it very much. Supporting, caring for, and helping people gives me so much joy, especially when I can see the joy in their face too.
When you are working you are independent. You don’t rely on anybody. You have freedom, stability and security, you take your own money, and you use it however you want. It’s still hard now, but we are happier and I’m going out a lot and talking to people – my colleagues and my clients – so it’s a lot better now than before.