Finding a Job I Love!

“This was my first opportunity to actually have a job and provide for my family.”

I came from Somalia to America as a single mother with four daughters. For more than seventeen years I lived in a tent in a refugee camp, never being allowed to work. After getting settled in our apartment in Utah, a local bishop from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints referred me to the Humanitarian Center for job training and English classes.

This was my first opportunity to actually have a job and provide for my family. I was determined to work hard. Not long into the program, my supervisors noticed my happy attitude. My English was limited, but I was determined to learn. I wanted to become a good employee. I would practice all of the English words I learned.

About six months into the training program, I began having severe asthma attacks. I have always struggled with asthma, but have never had access to good medical treatment. My job coach, development counselor, and mentor helped me receive the treatment I needed to improve my asthma. However, I discovered that because of my asthma, many work opportunities would not be available for me.

I was determined to work. I thought it was a blessing that I had come to a country where I could work to pay my own rent. When I found out I could not work as a housekeeper, I cried. I did not want to be on government assistance. I wanted to be self-reliant. With my limitations, I began to worry that I would not be able to get a job. I wanted to support myself.

My job coach and development counselor told me they would work with me to find a job. They talked with the manager of the Employment Resource Center at Welfare Square, and soon they were also looking for jobs for me. Missionaries at the employment center found me job leads every week and would help me fill out the applications. One day, on there was a posting for a dishwasher in a bakery. My job coach and I contacted the bakery and met with them. Someone at the Employment Resource Center told them about the business partnership program, where the Humanitarian Center would pay for me to work at their business for several weeks so I could gain more experience and prove myself. The owner agreed to the partnership.

Because English was still very difficult for me, my job coach spent extra time after her normal working hours to come to my new job to help me. She even created a book of pictures so I would know exactly what they wanted me to do. I took the pictures home and studied them so I could return each day and do better at my job.

I am very grateful for all of the help I received. I now have a job I love. The people I work with love me and it feels like family. Doing the dishes is just how I used to do the dishes in Somalia, and when I am working I feel like I have found my home again after living in a tent for seventeen years. The job even pays more than I thought I would be able to make. Through this program I have my dream of having a job and paying my bills on my own, and my daughters will now have the future I want for them.

“Someone at the Employment Resource Center told them about the business partnership program . . . so I could gain more experience and prove myself.”

For more amazing stories like Shun’s, visit the DI’s Facebook page by clicking here.