Having been in the UK for only three years; what I have done feels massive. The first three months were so difficult because I had no relatives or friends. I felt lonely and uncertain. Things got worse for me because I was not eligible to join colleges or courses funded by the government. That made me feel excluded and marginalised.
I started looking for chances to improve myself. Meeting Lisa from Forever Manchester was a significant incident in my journey. Forever Manchester funded me and my friends to make the Syrian Cuisine Group which had a great impact on improving our cooking and socialising skills.
Because I am quite social and passionate about bringing people together, I started making many friends very quickly. By linking all my friends together into two WhatsApp groups, it became easier to communicate, and to share stories and experiences.
We’d also agree to meet together many times and we used our new park in West Gorton for picnics and parties, which Forever Manchester also supported. The ladies in my groups are now good friends who spend amazing time together and support one another.
It is worth saying that during the last three years, I have given a hand to everyone who has asked me for help. I went with some ladies to enrol themselves in colleges and their children in schools. I helped others to fill forms and apply online for different things. I also visited some newly-arrived families to read and explain the letters they’d received in the psot. I also went with my neighbours to their appointments to help by interpreting.
I’ve also done volunteering: with the NHS in the vaccination campaigns, and I was a member of the Ardwick and Longsight Mutual Aid Group. I have also helped refugees, in the Rethink Rebuild Society, to improve their ability in writing essays.
Giving time and effort to helping people and volunteering has, in turn, helped me improve my language and communication skills, given me the opportunity to make friends and integrate in the society and increased my confidence and experience.
Now I am planning to set up my own organisation called Women Celebration Culture. It is about bringing women of different backgrounds and cultures together, empowering and inspiring them to achieve their potential, and encouraging them to be active and have fun together.
I am sure we are going to make a big difference through this group and work towards a more connected community where everyone can relate to each other.
My journey has been quite challenging. I fell many times, but every time I was getting up stronger and with more persistence to reach my destination.
If I have a message for other women, it would be: Believe in yourself, stay positive and keep going.
No matter what background you are from, no matter what point you are starting from, and no matter what qualifications you have; you still can do something great and different from what others can do. You always can add something unique to the world around you.
Wardeh’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org