Wali arrived in Wales after fleeing Afghanistan hoping to build a new life for himself and his family.
In Afghanistan, he held a university degree, several years’ experience as an HR director and a comfortable family life in Kabul, before escalating levels of
violence made it unsafe to stay.
Arriving in the UK he lost connection with his mother, “It’s hard but you have to get on with it. I grew up in a family that didn’t have much, but we were always taught to be positive, to work hard and be honest. My focus as soon as we arrived here was to find work to look after my young family.”
Despite an impressive CV, Wali struggled to find employment because he had no UK work experience. They had left Afghanistan with nothing and were living in temporary accommodation with no means to buy clothes or furniture. At this point he says, “I was about to give up. My family and I were really struggling to meet our daily expenses. Our baby was due any time and I was worried how we’d buy clothes.” A week after their new son was born, they moved into a hostel, skipping meals and using food bank vouchers.
Lacking in confidence, confused and unaware of how to access help, Wali attended an outreach event for the Lift Programme. He took up a placement for three months with Public Health Wales as an HR Assistant.
He says, The opportunity opened the door for me to re-start my career.” Wali gained in confidence and valuable work experience. Although applying for jobs he was not getting shortlisted because he did not have a UK HR qualification. From this point he wanted to access more training and joined a level 5 CIPD course at Cardiff and Vale College, helped with some funding from the Lift Programme.
When he was on the course Wali applied for the job of Benefit Trainee at Cardiff Council and is now working with the Cardiff Council Central Library Hub.
Wali is committed to building a good life in Wales and making a contribution through his work and family life, he says, “I am very happy. I am an active part of society. I pay my tax, rent and council tax. I can afford to buy clothes and toys for my children and take them out to restaurants. I am very hopeful for my future.”