Nasima is one of our previous graduates from the Retail Training Program. At The Social Outfit, she found a sense of community and confidence which allowed her to go on and find further employment. Wear The Change fundraises for programs just like this, so if you would love to support young refugees like Nasima, click here to find out how you can get involved!
About 10 years ago, we started planning to come to Australia. It was a big decision for us and it got more serious when we decided to go back to Afghanistan from Iran. My father first came (to Australia) with boat and a few years later my mother and two younger brothers came. My older brother, younger sister and I had to wait. I was 14 years old when they left. It was a 3 years-long separation.
When we got to Afghanistan, I didn't go to regular school anymore, I started language school. I was just learning English every day to get ready for coming to Australia. I had to travel by motorbike with my brother every day to get there, it was dark, and we rode through the mountains. But it was just not safe to travel. I was lucky that my brother was older because girls can't really do anything there, you can't go anywhere by yourself it’s not safe.
I was 17 when finally I came to Australia with my brother and younger sister. We were so excited we could finally be with the rest of our family. When I walked into the house they got for us and there was this sense of belonging, it was really strong. I felt, finally this is my home, I can call it a new home.
Coming to Australia was very exciting because I knew it would be great. It was a safe country compared to Afghanistan. I knew a lot of opportunities would come my way, especially the opportunity to be able to go to school and study.
But some big challenges came after the settlement, the language was really a big problem for a few months and when I first started looking for work, I found it really challenging because I didn't know what to exactly do. It’s hard to find a good job with no experience of working in Australia and not knowing the culture and how to connect and work in the Australian environment. I found that really hard.
I had a resume, I worked on it and I was like, ‘Oh, this is the perfect resume. I'll apply for any job, as long as I get to experience and learn something.’ I sent out my resume to a lot of places, but I didn't hear back from any of them. Looking back, I think the problem was I didn't have any experience.
When I first got the call from The Social Outfit, I was like – ‘This is my first job!!’ and I was so excited. I didn't think that I would get this job because I applied for so many and I was getting used to hearing “No” from everyone. In my first shift, I was excited! I wasn't doing such things before so it was very exciting but also nerve-wracking because I couldn't really talk to customers with that tone and confidence of being really friendly and close. But in my training, I had to learn how to quickly make a connection and say “Hi” and start a friendly conversation.
One of the best things about working at The Social Outfit are the relationships. My retail trainer is really lovely and talented. I have learned so much from her and I remember she gave me this big push, like, ‘You have to talk to these customers’. I needed that push and I will never forget it because it was so good for me and it made me be the person I am now, who is very confident and doesn't hesitate to talk to anyone.
The Social Outfit program made it possible for me to be more confident with who I am and use every opportunity to grow as a person.