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March 22, 2021
Employment and Livelihoods

International Women’s Day 2021: Yanal’s Story


International Women’s Day 2021: Yanal’s Story

At World Jewish Relief we know that investing in a woman’s livelihood is one of the most effective ways to strive for a better world in which human rights are realised, and women and girls can reach their potential and build independent and dignified lives.

To mark International Women’s Day, we are sharing the stories of a few women who have been through our employment programmes. Having faced immense challenges, from displacement and conflict to disasters, they have successfully built or rebuilt their livelihoods, found employment and become independent. Here is Yanal’s story:


Yanal, who is from Syria, arrived in Coventry as a refugee in September 2019. She is a widow and has four children, who came to the UK with her. Before Yanal arrived in the UK she had never had a paid job outside her home. However, she had a real interest in learning English and finding employment here.

When she arrived in Coventry Yanal joined World Jewish Relief’s STEP programme, which operates in the city in partnership with Coventry City Council. She was incredibly committed to the programme, attending English language classes and a course by Stand Up and Be Counted theatre company, designed to develop communication skills, self-confidence, and wellbeing. She then attended basic IT classes. World Jewish Relief provided Yanal with a laptop at the beginning of lockdown, which enabled her to continue her training from home.

As Yanal has made huge strides with her English and improved her confidence in speaking, she has begun to volunteer with Coventry City Council, particularly with interpreting for other refugees on the STEP programme. She has also volunteered assisting other programme participants to access their online classes via Microsoft Teams. She has been a huge help for the Council in reaching refugees from the programme in challenging times.

After working hard to develop her CV, and applying for jobs, last October Yanal was offered a role as a lunchtime supervisor in a local school. She really enjoys this work and looks forward to returning as schools go back this week. She says she learns as much from the pupils as they do from her!

Yanal says:

At first when I joined the STEP project, I simply hoped that it would help me to integrate into society. I soon discovered just how valuable the project would be. I learned how to write a CV and cover letter and apply for a job. The amazing, helpful STEP team pushed me to succeed. They also provided help with childcare, which enabled me to attend trainings. I am very grateful for this support.