October 12, 2022

Mounira’s Story

Mounira is 39 years old, she came to the UK 2 years ago in 2020 from Algeria. Mounira completed her high education (PHD in Electronics) and gained 7 years work experience as a senior Research Officer and learning monitor for university students in the Research Centre at Centre for Development of Advanced Technologies.  Mounira was unable to speak any English when she arrived in the UK and started learning English from April 2021 by initially attending conversational café ESOL at St Peter’s Centre, Hillfields, and Employability course at St Francis Employability.
Mounira came to WATCH in March 2022 looking for a volunteering job or help to further improve her English and socialise more within the local community.  Mounira was suitable for and registered onto Accelerate project.

Following her initial registration in earlier April, Mounira began to voluntary at WATCH and assisted with Hillfields Library (housed at the WATCH centre).  This placement helped to improve her English and Mounira received training and mentoring support from her Journey Guide and library staff.   Mounira is a gifted academic who was able to learn tasks quickly including how to use ICAM/VSMART systems and take responsibility for and manage the library when staff were absent using her own initiative, when required.

In this period, Mounira involved herself in many training courses, conversation café, social programmes including the Radford Bubbles Photographer project, which continued her work and interest in photography.  This project has been displayed in several exhibitions at community venues in Coventry.  Mounira also took part in the Pedal Power Bike project, which offered free cycling classes for women aimed at supporting refugee and asylum seeker women +18 years old.

Mounira also gave her time to attend some local community events to translate for people in Arabic or French and recently took up a volunteer work placement with us at WATCH three days per week and volunteered with the Coventry City host and Coventry parade teams. Mounira used all her free time to achieve positive steps and worked hard using her own initiative to expand herself personally and professionally skills and said this has helped to find herself again in UK after 2 years of living in a bad period and negative environment.

Since registering on to the Accelerate project, Mounira has taken up a work experience placement and become a member of WATCH staff team assisting with the delivery of ICT workshops and weekly job club sessions helping participants to search and apply for suitable job vacancies. Our Accelerate Journey Guide recommended Optima to Mounira, explaining how they could potentially  help her to increase her well-being and confidence level; Mounira agreed to this and was subsequently referred to Optima. Mounira found that she was able to express herself in a group setting by sharing her ideas and opinions while identifying both her short and longer-term goals.

She found a new way in how to prioritise her aims using progressive steps which would allow her to develop so she could realistically achieve her goals. This started with looking at ways to improve her language skills, self-esteem and social abilities having been isolated during COVID-19. She also understood the importance of taking time out to look after her mental health if she felt overwhelmed or stressed in her life. Our Accelerate Journey also supported Mounira with updating her CV and some applications which has led to securing some job interview and feedback for the future.

Now, Mounira is feeling more confident and can speak English well and share her many transferable skills and experience and to be able to pursue a career that will help others with multiple barriers to achieve their goals.  Mounira expressed how much opportunity working with us as volunteer has given to her and this has been a valuable and important step in her life in UK, helping her to progress in her personal and career development.