Esther's story - Refugee Council

Esther’s story

Our mental health support built Ether's confidence and self-esteem - helping her to find a job supporting other refugees at Migrant Help.

My partner died when my daughter was two years old. His family wanted to take her and do FGM on her. And they wanted to marry me to one of the brothers. I fled to the UK to claim asylum because I have family here.

When I went to the Refugee Council they took me in and started counselling. I was so down, so depressed, so stressed, so frustrated. I couldn’t do anything for myself. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t laugh the way I’m laughing now. Over time I opened up and started to speak out and build my confidence. Before that, I didn’t speak at all. I was a mess. I was in a women’s group that I never missed. I was there every Monday at 11 o’clock. They build our confidence.

When I got my refugee status, they helped me to apply for benefits. I had no idea what everyone was talking about. I was looking at them thinking “what are you talking about”?

I went to their Refugees into Jobs programme which opened up my world. I realised I could do something with myself. Now, I am working for Migrant Help. I’m enjoying it. I learn new things every day. I am the expert of immigration. I had never dreamt of this!

I am trying to inspire my daughter. She is turning 13 next year. She is enjoying her life here. She enjoys school, she has moved up grades and I’m happy about her movement. She is a very bright girl. I want her to make something out of her life after all the sacrifice. I don’t want her to forget where she’s come from. I tell her she must make the best out of herself. I am seeing if she can get some therapy from the Refugee Council too.

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