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www.migrantwoman.com

NO. 4 - JULY/AUGUST 2014 - £3

TASLEEM MULHALL My rescuer became my abuser ASK THE DRAGON BAYBARS ALTUNTAS DATING AGENCY FOR RICH PEOPLE

SARAH ALEXANDER

HOW CAN YOU THRIVE IN BUSINESS

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SUMMER BEAUTY TIPS

A NEW LANGUAGE FOR A NEW LIFE & LIFEEER nge a CAR h c to it

t Howd direcw an our o n on y

ASK JUDY

MY BRITISH MAN DOESN’T UNDERSTAND ME

STRUGGLING TO FIND A JOB?

PERSONAL STORIES OF OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES

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MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

StafF Editor in Chief Mirela Sula

COVER ARTICLE

Tasleem Mulhall The rescuer became my abuser page

Sub-editor Trevor Clarke

Our crew  Page 4

Editorial  Page 5

Update and letters  Page 6

News for June  Page 8

Ask Judy: Relationships  Page 10

Ask Simon: Tax issues  Page 12

Ask the Dragon: Business advice Page 14

Ask Dr Finn: Is stress related to weight gain?  Page 16

Forced marriage: A passionate view  Page 24

Starting over again  Page 26

Special Feature - Job hunting advice and perspectives  Page 28

Believe in the job of your dreams  Page 30

Prejudice? If it is not working go solo!  Page 32

The language route to success  Page 33

How to change and direct your own career  Page 35

Migration can be a great experience for your career  Page 38

PAGE 16 The impact of migration on family relationships  Page 40

A new language for a new life  Page 43

Language and the culture go hand in hand  Page 44

Love is the best way to learn a new language  Page 46

Turning a business idea into action  Page 49

How can you thrive in business  Page 54

From Bosnia to Pennsylvania, adjusting to a new country  Page 56

Professional legal advice for migrants  Page 59

Editorial team Kristale Rama Ermonela Kapedani Lira Sejdini Rainela Xhemollari Board Members Marita Flager Aura Imbarus Adelina Badivuku Kath Roberts Avi Esther Shekinah Huda Jawad Ozden Bayraktar Contributors Baybars Altuntas Judy Piatkus Sarah Alexander Julian Childs Francesca Moresi creative Director Henrik Lezi Photographer Francisco Cruzat

Contributing to the progress of the humanity

Web Designer Ken Doughty

Designers tell a story in different languages

advertising Director Rudina Suti

Women are more in touch with their intuition

Marketing and PR Elisjada Canameti Amarilda Canameti

 Page 64  Page 66  Page 68

How to practice meditation  Page 70

10 summer beauty tips  Page 72

Meet Tina Grahavi, filmmaker, and author of ‘I am Nasrine’  Page 74

ADDRESS Migrant Woman LTD Company Number: 08839812 E-mail: info@migrantwoman.com Web: www.migrantwoman.com London, UK


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Contributors | issue #4, july 2014

Our crew for this issue

Dr Marita Nika Flagler Marita Nika Flagler currently resides in Central Pennsylvania, USA, the last stop in a journey that started in Tirana, Albania. She joined the Department of Social Work and Gerontology at Shippensburg University in August 2006, where Marita is presently an associate professor of social work. Her main areas of interest are macro practice (community organising, social welfare policies and research) as well as disabilities, human rights, and international development.

Julia Goga-Cooke Julia started work in Albania as a teacher of English and university lecturer in English phonetics and comparative linguistics. When the BBC decided to broadcast in Albanian to audiences in the Balkans, she moved to London as a broadcast journalist and for ten years led the Albanian Service, as the most trusted broadcaster in the Balkans. Julia later became the senior editorial advisor and global news co-ordinating editor, responsible to strategically lead and shape major editorial discussions across BBC Global News,

Baybars Altuntas Baybars Altuntas is a Turkish entrepreneur, speaker and author based in Istanbul. He founded Deulcom International, a vocational training school in 1992 and currently serves as the president of the executive committee of Deulcom. He is also a dragon on the Dragon’s Den Turkey, The Turkish version of the Dragon’s Den TV show. In 2011, Baybars wrote Off the Bus, into a BM. The book has been reprinted 24 times and translated into five languages.

Judy Piatkus Judy Piatkus achieved a diploma in psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling and worked in an NHS surgery in Harley Street London, for 450 hours, as well as in her own private practice. Judy now works with a wide range of organisations and businesses as a leadership development coach, consultant and mentor. She is also in much demand as a speaker on the topics of entrepreneurship, future trends, angel investing and building a great business.

Dr Shlomo Ariel

Ozden Bayraktar

A senior clinical psychologist, licensed by the Israeli Ministry of Health to supervise clinical psychologists in psychotherapy and psycho-diagnostics since 1994, and an authorised supervisor of family therapy by the Israel Family Therapy Association since 1992. Before he made a career change into clinical psychology he had been a lecturer of theoretical linguistics, anthropological linguistics, semiotics and child language development in the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University.

Ozden started her career after she graduated with a degree in Psychology, Koc University Institute of Social Science, Istanbul, Turkey and a Masters in Psychology, Maltepe University Institute of Social Science, Istanbul, Turkey. When Ozden arrived in the UK in 2007, she completed an MSc in Psychoanaltyic Child Development, at University College London, and is currently working on her PhD in Psychotherapy and Counselling studies at Regent’s University, London UK.


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MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

Letter from the edit r Women of the Universe Mirel a Sula

Founder and Editor- in- Chief

W

hen I came to London about two years ago, I was amazed by meeting people from different cultures, with different accents, different styles and seeing them feeling so comfortable interacting with each other. I am here to do my PhD and the topic is related with migrant women. Connected with that, my first action started with an observation and captivating desire to explore the new reality around me. I have to accept that from reading the literature reviews, I found that almost all the scientific research has emphasised that migrant women are weak, vulnerable, poor, and victims of migration.

Please show your support for Migrant Woman by liking us on our Facebook page, signing up online to receive our newsletter for keeping you informed and up to date, and take part in completing our survey on the website, which will be a great help in shaping the future direction of Migrant Woman magazine. Check our website for all the articles, posts & news www.migrantwoman.com

Migration itself is perceived as a negative phenomenon and this made me feel bad. Whereas with my concept, migration is a great thing: people who migrate believe in better, they have the courage to change and move from their comfort zone, they are curious to explore the world, to evolve and learn what is beyond their borders. They are like birds that want to fly and be free, independent and to become the owner of their reality. This is why we decide to emigrate, being happy exploring the world, meeting new people, extending our borders and creating a new reality for our life. It is like being reborn, we start a new life, totally different, with new circumstances, new people, new situations, and this activates new skills to discover the new potential and abilities within us. Isn’t that exciting? This is what I had in mind when I decided to start this magazine. I wanted to change the perception. I don’t believe I am able to change the world, I have never had this aspiration but I can change a perception, an attitude and the reality around me. The aim of the Migrant Woman magazine is not to complain, not to portray an image of being the victim, not to blame, but to feel proud of what we are and to invite other women to feel positive for what they are. The truth is that I have met so many migrant women that are extremely smart, clever, resilient, and successful, who have started their life from scratch and they are in a great place today. On the other hand I have met women who have had a career in their own country, they had a profession, an aspiration and a dream, and when they arrive in the new country they give up. I believe that Migrant Woman magazine can serve as a great model to awaken the dreams of these women again and inspire them to not let their desires go, but to fight for it, to have faith and persistence to achieve what they want in life, despite their circumstances. Stories that you will read in this issue provide evidence which shows that migrant women are powerful and vibrant, to inspire all the women of the Universe.


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update

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Migrant Woman magazine appears on Turkish media We are honoured to have high calibre contributors for the magazine and one of them is Baybars Altuntas, who has a column titled ‘Ask the Dragon’. This has attracted media attention in Turkey, for consideration as a potential publication in the market

I read the article from Baybars Altuntas and I loved the idea of supporting entrepreneurial women. I am a businesswoman myself and I will follow his column with interest. I like his concepts and the empathy he conveys for the readers. I found it the most interesting page on the magazine. Congratulations. Gina.

We met Angelina Jolie End sexual violence in conflict Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict during June in London. The event was the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject, with 1700 delegates, including 129 country delegations and 79 Ministers. Migrant Women magazine was there and our Editor in Chief, Mirela Sula, had the opportunity to meet Ms Jolie, who enchanted everyone that she met and talked with.

The article in the May magazine on domestic violence and not to let love kill you, by Sahar Shahid, was the most powerful and passionate piece that have I ever read. Her style, passion, empathy and drive made me cry and deeply reflect on this topic. It has had a big impact on me, and I have read it again several times. I hope that many more women read and appreciate the hard hitting message. And to become more aware of the trap that is too easy to fall into, and how to get out of it, or even better, avoid it altogether. Many thanks, Bella.


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news for june

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

This week I had a Ukip moment. On a new estate in north London, I found my poor little Polo trapped in a parking bay by a giant BMW which was double-parked. A woman in a hijab emerged from a flat to berate me for parking illegally. “This is for social housing,” she said. She then got into her BMW. I almost turned into Nigel Farage and ranted at the woman. I had paid £3.50 to park. You get the picture: law-abiding citizen who pays his taxes for things like... social housing. I bit my lip, thankfully. It turned out the Muslim woman was right and I should have parked up the road. The incident made me think that maybe

Ukip have ignited a bidding war on tough immigration policies

Nick Clegg has expressed concern that the Government’s plans to promote “British values” in schools could alienate moderate Muslims. The Deputy Prime Minister has written to the Muslim Council of Britain in an attempt to reassure it about the move, which followed allegations that a “Muslim agenda” was being introduced in some schools in Birmingham. Mr Clegg is worried that some Muslims are offended because their religion is often singled out when ministers talk about “British values”. He believes that David Cameron and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, may unwittingly anger Muslim community leaders the Government needs to tackle extremism and could fuel Islampohobia among the British public. Read more at The Independent http://tinyurl.com/phqtost

Nick Clegg: Teaching ‘British values’ in schools could upset moderate Muslims

there is a tiny bit of racism in all of us – or at least most of us. I have seen it in my own family. Politicians rarely make the positive case for immigration or talk about the figures showing that migrants put more into the economy by paying their taxes than they take out by claiming benefits and using public services. Read more at The Independent http://tinyurl.com/ohnunef

UK has had fastest growing population in Europe for a decade Mass immigration means Britain’s population has been growing twice as fast as the rest of Europe for the last decade – gaining as many people in that time as in the entire previous generation, official figures show. The population of the UK passed the 64 million mark for the first time last year, experiencing by far the biggest annual growth in the EU, according to the Office for National Statistics. It is now effectively the second most populous country in Europe after Germany, having overtaken France if the inhabitants of the French overseas departments and territories are excluded. Read more at The Telegraph http://tinyurl.com/pybqdpd

Multiculturalism in reverse as teenagers buck the trend towards integration Decades of efforts to promote multiculturalism have gone into reverse, major new research showing teenagers are no more likely to mix with people from other racial backgrounds than those 40 years older suggests. The study, which analyses the social lives of almost 4,300 people from 13 to 80, shows that a clear trend towards each successive generation becoming more integrated than the one before breaks down when it comes to under18s. Despite growing up in more diverse society than ever before at a time when mass migration has transformed the make-up of Britain, today’s teenagers have almost 30 per cent fewer friends from other ethnic backgrounds than people in their 20s and early 30s. Read more at The Telegraph http:// tinyurl.com/o7tjq45


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MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

The launch of Migrant Woman Magazine & our editor Mirela Sula’s book “Don’t let your mind go”

SPECIAL GUEST AND SPEAKER Dr. Norman Rosenthal Psychiatrist, Author of “The gift of adversity”

Address: Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NS Kindly confirm your attendance by email:

info@migrantwoman.com

This event will be hosted by Regents University London


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

ask

Judy My British man doesn’t understand me

Q

Dear Judy, My name is Gina and I am 48 years old. I have been in this country for about ten years now. I came here with two children as a single mother. I have not been in a relationship for a long time until my children grew up. Now they are at university and very independent on their

own. The reason I am writing is because I would like to share my

Since the first issue was published we started to receive letters from readers, some of them were wishing Migrant Woman success and others asked if we would help them with giving advice for their concerns. We heard from BB, who sent a general email to us, which we forwarded to Judy, a successful publisher and business woman, who is happy to help in offering her wisdom for our readers. BB has received a direct reply and is agreeable for her question and Judy’s answer to be published. Do you also have a question for Judy? Write to: ask@migrantwoman.com

concern with you. About two years ago I started a relationship

with a British man. He is a great person and I am in love with him. I think he loves me as well but sometimes he reacts in a way that hurts me. In my concept the relationship is when two people spend as much time as they can together. He lives alone in his own, but I live with my children. Now that my children are grown up we have made plans to move in together several times but he changes his mind at the last minute. Or when I ask him to meet or spend weekends together he complains that he needs his own space for himself, as spending all the weekend with me is too much, and too intensive. He prefers to walk the dog of his ex wife, to see an elderly man in a care home that he accidentally met in the street some time ago, or to drive his children when they need him (even though they are adults and have own their cars). Is this normal? On the other side he has helped me when I needed him and of course we feel very good when we are together. But to be honest I don’t think this is enough. He asks me to be patient but we have been together for about two years now and I think he has to separate from his past and focus on the present. Is this a British culture for men or this is just happening in my case? I always wonder if this is the problem because we come from different cultures, and mentalities? In my country a man who is in a relationship has to be committed and dedicated and if he promises something, he has to keep to his word. Do you think that a relationship like this can work? Do you think that I can do something to make it work because I really love this man? I look forward to reading your answer.

I don’t see this man’s hesitation as a particularly English characteristic

A

Dear Gina, many men who have been divorced are wary of entering into another long-term relationship. And many people – both men and women – do need a lot of time for maintaining their existing relationships with family and friends. These may be possible reasons why this man is not showing more enthusiasm about moving in with you. He may be concerned that you are wanting more of his time than he is able – or wanting - to give to you. He may be concerned that you do not accept him the way he is. I do not see this man’s hesitation as a particularly English characteristic. To find out if you will have a future with this man, I would advise taking a step back, continuing to be pleasant and loving, but being much less available. If he doesn’t want to lose you, he will have to woo you more actively. You will then have to consider whether you will be able to accept that he will need more time for his family and other interests than you would really like. If it doesn’t seem as if he is likely to change and if you are sure you want a more intense relationship, it would probably be better to look for someone else who is wanting the same kind of future that you are.


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Immigration

OUR MAIN AREAS OF WORK

Entry clearance (visitors, business visas, entrepreneurs, student visa, family visitors, Points Based System) Naturalisation and Registration for British Citizenship EEA applications (including Permanent Residence applications and Family Permits) Student applications (leave to remain as a student) Marriage, fiancĂŠes and unmarried partners visa Deportation and removals (including detention centre and prison visits) Appeals and Judicial Review applications Settlement applications (Indefinite Leave to Remain) Asylum and European Convention of Human Rights applications (e.g. Article 3 and 8) Bail/ Temporary Admission applications

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Employment contracts Salary problems at work Bullying and harassment Unfair Dismissal Redundancy Disciplinary process Whistleblowing Employment Tribunal proceedings We are qualified English Lawyers (solicitors) regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If you need advice you can send us a confidential email at: info@morganpearsesolicitors.com

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Issuing claims at the County Court and or High Court Business, contract, corporate and partnership disputes Property litigation Negotiation of alternative methods of dispute resolution Enforcement of judgments Languages that we speak include: Albanian (Shqip: 077 3741 3235), Italian and French (079 0638 2358), Hungarian (Magyar: 079 5157 8810)

ADDRESS: Morgan Pearse LLP, (Suite 6) 63 Broadway, London, E15 4BQ Telephone: 0203 583 2129 Fax: 0203 475 4544 Website: www.morganpearsesolicitors.com


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

A new UK tax for Non-Residents Capital gains tax (CGT) may be something that is less familiar for migrants. Migrant Woman magazine has been featuring stories of migrant entrepreneurial women who have been successful and others who have great ambitions for the future. It may be important to learn more about a new tax that will become chargeable from April 2015 and to prepare for that. Simon Newsham is a tax expert who explains more. If you have any questions for Simon, please send them to: askmigrantwoman.com 1. The background

The UK does not generally charge capital gains tax (CGT) on gains arising from disposals of UK residential property by nonresident owners. However, the government considers this to be an unfair situation, particularly when compared to UK tax residents who are subject to CGT on disposals of residential property (other than their main home), regardless of whether such property is situated in the UK or overseas. Accordingly, in order to rectify the position, the government announced at the time of the 2013 Autumn Statement that legislation would be introduced and, on 28 March 2014, published a consultation document setting out its proposals. 2. Proposed change

With effect from 06 April 2015, the UK’s CGT regime will be extended to tax foreign residents who realise gains from a disposal of UK residential property. It is currently understood that any gains which have accrued before this date will be excluded from the tax charge. However, in relation to those properties acquired before this

date and disposed on or after this date, it will be necessary to calculate what amount of the total gain should be excluded from the CGT charge. 3. Proposed rate of tax

The objective is for non-residents to be taxed on a comparable basis to UK tax residents. Individual UK higher rate taxpayers are subject to a 28% CGT rate and basic rate taxpayers are liable to CGT at 18%. Since the government expects to tax non-residents in the same way, it will be necessary for non-residents to declare their total UK income to ensure that the appropriate level of CGT is paid. It is currently unclear what would be the appropriate rate of CGT that will be charged on gains realised by non-resident companies, funds and other entities. Although the consultation document recognises that a 28% CGT charge may not be fair when compared to a UK company (which would be subject to a 20% tax charge), the government is committed to ensuring that non-residents are treated on the same basis as UK residents. 4. Reliefs and/or exemptions available

The government is considering extend-

ing the availability of the principal private residence exemption (which broadly means that no CGT is payable on gains relating to a disposal of an individual’s main home) to non-residents. However, given that such individuals are non-resident this is likely to be of little help since their main home is expected to be in their country of residence and, therefore, outside the UK! The CGT annual exemption (currently £11,000 for the 2014/15 tax year) will be available to non-resident individuals, but this is expected to be of nominal benefit. 5. The next steps

The proposed CGT extension represents a significant change to the tax landscape for non-residents holding UK residential property. Anyone who is likely to be caught by these measures should seek professional advice as soon as possible in order to consider what planning may be undertaken. Winckworth Sherwood provides a wide range of legal services to a diverse range of businesses, not for profit organisations and private individuals. www.wslaw.co.uk


OK O MIGRANTWOMAN.COM B SE W EA NE EL R

13

Don’t Let Your Mind Go

Available on Amazon now!

In "Don't Let Your Mind Go" psychotherapist Mirela Sula draws on her own personal and professional experiences and those of her mother to produce a book that is poignant, profound and moving. The stories she shares are wise, insightful and beautifully written. NORMAN E. ROSENTHAL M.D., BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF TRANSCENDENCE AND THE GIFT OF ADVERSITY “This book is filled with pearls of wisdom laced with stories that make the pearls shine. Anyone reading it will be inspired and guided in the process of cultivating a healthy, thriving mind. I recommend it to everyone. “ HARVILLE HENDRIX PH. D. AUTHOR, GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

baybars altuntas .tr or visit my blog to baltuntas@deulcom.com You can send your questions and find me on com. Follow me on Twitter at ww w.baybarsaltuntasnotes. as soon as possible. me to start creating new jobs Facebook. Get in touch with

Is a dating agency for only wealthy people a good idea? Dear Editor, I have read an article in your magazine written by the Dragon from Turkey, Baybars Altuntas, and I like the idea of supporting women who have entrepreneurial initiative. I have heard about Mr Altuntas and I am impressed with how he has achieved so many things in life starting from scratch...

...I have always been curious to know about wealthy people and now I am working as a recruitment consultant with very high profile people. What I have realised is that they don’t feel happy with their financial achievement, or even with their career – most of them think that the love relationship is the most important. As they have to work very hard they don’t have time to focus on their intimate relationships. Once a relationship is broken, their efficiency at a professional level is distracted as well. Inspired by meeting these people, I have been thinking about a business idea: To open a dating agency only for wealthy people. Life in London is very busy and people don’t have time to search for the right partner. I think I can help them with that. Do you think this is worth giving a try? What would be your suggestion for how to go about starting this?


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MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

Dragon’s Answer A dating agency exclusively for wealthy people sounds like a good business idea, not only for London but for all busy cities. It is an innovative idea that can lead to success. You need to start with a business model, and then make a business plan. The first step in developing a business model is to determine whether there is indeed a need for the service or product you want to sell. You have completed that first step. You are asking me if it is going to work or not! Trying to assess what other people think about your business idea is a good way to find out, and soliciting the opinions of people in your immediate environment is a cost-effective and practical way of conducting market research. Let me offer a few suggestions for your

business model. Consider designing it in such a way that you will be able to franchise your business in the future. If your business succeeds, you will own a brand that will be linked to a profitable business. If that happens, independent entrepreneurs will seek you out and ask you to share your knowhow. It will be useful if you have taken notes on everything you experience before, during, and after setting up this business. These notes will be valuable in developing the franchise handbook you provide to your future franchisees. While a good business idea is important, the skills and competencies of the entrepreneur are even more critical than the business idea. A Turkish philosopher once offered a good piece of advice: ‘Look first at

what is being said, and then look at who is saying it!’ Now that I’ve evaluated what you have said, I am looking at you, the owner of the business idea. You work as a recruitment consultant with high profile people. You have come up with this business idea based on your personal experience working with a wealthy clientele, which suggests you have the potential to develop the content of this business. If you were not in the HR industry yourself, you would have to hire other people to run this business, which would require a huge investment. But in your case, it is actually possible to start your business without investing in staff. You can do it yourself! I wish you great success in your entrepreneurship journey.

I am looking at you, the owner of the business idea. You work as a recruitment consultant with high profile people. You have come up with this business idea based on your personal experience working with a wealthy clientele, which suggests you have the potential to develop the content of this business


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

for the UK chapter tor and member of the board Finn Jenk DC is a Chiroprac is also a cer tified of Applied Kinesiology. He of the International College loss and detox ght experience in running wei NET practitioner. He also has ed. If you have anc ols developed by Nutri Adv programmes following protoc com an. him at: ask@migrantwom your own question you can ask

Is stress related to my weight gain?

Q

Dear Migrant Woman, thank you for giving us the opportunity to have our voice. My name is Sylvia and I am from

Poland, a single mother of two children. Recently I have been going through a lot of difficulties in life. It is not easy to be in a new country, totally alone and raise two children. My concern is that over the last two years, I have gained too much weight (15 kg in that period). This is scaring me so much. Some friends have told me that it might be related with stress. Maybe they are right? Is there any chance that your experts can give me any tips on what can I do to stop it? By the way, I work full-time and don’t have time to go to the gym, because at the end of the day I feel so tired and need to go home to share time with my children.

A

Dear Sylvia, I am sorry to read about your difficulties. Your friends are correct in suspecting that stress contributes to weight gain. The first place to start is with what you eat. I recommend a modified Mediterranean diet that is high in phytonutrients and fibre. I find this diet is achievable and sustainable. Focus on low glycaemic load foods that do not disturb your blood sugar. Try to avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed food. As you are busy, you may consider using a healthy shake as a meal replacement when time is limited. I use a soy based high protein product that has been shown to lose fat and gain muscle. You can also use specific supplements to help balance blood sugar and speed up metabolism. If you follow such a plan for 30 days, you should feel less tired and more energetic. You will then feel able to do some exercise. You do not need to join a gym but can focus on walking and doing some simple exercises at home. With more energy and some exercise, you should feel less stressed and notice that your sleep improves. The goal is to make healthy changes in your lifestyle that are sustainable. If you do not have some complicating factor, you may lose the extra 15 kg in four months. Some people find it hard to lose weight because of some underlying factor such as adrenal imbalance, thyroid insufficiency, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or inflammation. Further, emotional issues can play a role in weight gain. Professional help is often necessary to identify and resolve such issues. I wish you and your children health and happiness.

You do not need to join a gym but can focus on walking and doing some simple exercises at home. With more energy and some exercise, you should feel less stressed


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cover article

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Tasleem Mulhall My rescuer became my abuser

From an early age Tasleem knew that she was “different”. She was always questioning. “Why can’t you just accept? You’re always challenging”, her parents would say. When Tasleem was growing up in Aden, Yemen, one way her ‘different’ side displayed itself was “I want to dress up glamorously”. Her family called her the Queen of Sheba because of it!

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By Mirela Sula

er father was an accountant and worked for the Government. Because of the political turmoil in the country in the 1980s, he found that he had no choice but to leave the country. They managed to get on a flight to Britain. Tasleem was 14 when she arrived in London. Until then she had never left the city of Aden. In fact, as far as she knew, none of the women in her family had visited other parts of Yemen, it was just not done. Tasleem started at school in London but her family wanted her to get married - to a man of their choosing. She wanted to have control over her own destiny but they wouldn’t relent so she ended up running

away from home. Tasleem spent time sleeping in a park and also in a hostel. She was so depressed that she thought about throwing herself in a river and even tried to cut her wrists. Tasleem still has the scar. She thought, “If I have no say in how I live, what’s the point in living?”. By being told to marry, Tasleem felt that she was being robbed of any further education and opportunities. It would have been expected that she would just learn to cook, clean and be a good wife. Tasleem never went back to live at home. She was studying hairdressing in college, where she met a woman who understood her dilemma at home and she took her in. It was there that Tasleem met this woman’s son, who was later to become her husband. Here another story continues.


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Photo Credit: Francisco Cruzat


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cover article You are a woman that has broken the rules – what motivates you to challenge the world and insist on creating your own reality?

The oppression I suffered as a child simply because of my gender, this seemed like a total injustice to me and the frustration of not being allowed to have my own voice - this is my motivation. To try and give a voice to others who may still be suffering that same sort of oppression back in Yemen and other restrictive countries, motivates me. I believe that it is the right of every human being on the planet, to have the freedom to create your own reality. When you reflect and go back – where is the beginning of your story?

Looking back I think I can pinpoint the time. It was my teacher, and I was aged just 14. She was unmarried , single and very glamorous which was unusual in itself for our culture and a bit rebellious herself . One day she took us to the beach and pointed to the distant sea and she said , “Look at the ocean, there is life beyond there, beyond family, beyond Aden.” I can still remember those words and that was the seed that started me to believe that maybe there was more. She was my inspiration. This made me realise that I don’t want to tolerate this anymore and it was the turning point for me and the beginning of my story.”

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

When you try to remember the story, what do you listen to within you?

In the beginning I tried to forget my story because it was too painful to remember and too painful to deal with, but in the end I realised I had to face my repressed emotions and that was when I first turned to art to try and express myself. Art healed me and gave me a voice and I remember my grandmother said to me, “Don’t allow anybody to suppress your spirit.” I carry her picture with me to special events even to this day. She could see something in me. I have always had a rebellious voice within me and have never wanted to do as I was told. I think we all have an inner voice, an inner child, a true voice, a gut feeling, your soul, your spirit, call it what you will, but we all have one that talks to all of us. Some of us don’t listen to it as much as we should but I think we all need to listen to our inner child more, it is our truth. What has changed within you from the past to the present?

Everything has changed about me. Believing in myself, gaining my self-confidence, realising that nothing is impossible if I put my mind to it. I feel a sense of freedom that I never thought was possible back in Yemen. A freedom of expression that first materialised through my art, but as I grew more confident, then I felt I could lend my

voice more directly, and that led me to start campaigning. You were very young when you had to take a decision “Fight or flight”. If you had the chance to decide again would you do the same thing?

Running away from your home is always a horrible and frightening decision to make and no young child should have to be put through that, but if that’s what it takes

I had exchanged one prison for another I had four children with my ex husband – who is half-Italian, half-Irish, and we were together for more than two decades. Yet ultimately I found that I had exchanged one prison for another. He wanted me to be a wife and mother before anything else, just as my family had done. I wanted to work and also to express myself artistically, a feeling that had been growing inside me since childhood. While I was with him I did do some work - as a model, and on make-up and perfume counters, and in the flagship store of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. However it is only now that I feel I am doing the

work I was destined to do - as an artist. I have held several exhibitions in London and internationally and have sold various pieces. I am pouring my life’s experiences into my work, but also trying to help people who have been through the same traumas as me. One of the organisations I help is called Freedom Charity, which campaigns against forced marriage and slavery. I feel a sense of duty to speak on behalf of those who have no voice, no courage. I used to be one of those people. The only way things will change are if we talk about them.


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to get where you need to be then absolutely, I would do the same thing again. What happened with you once you decided to challenge your family, the society and the world? Can you describe the feelings you experienced at that time?

As a young girl having just celebrated my 17thbirthday and running away in the middle of the night, I had no choice but to live in the street, homeless and living in the park with no where to turn to, alone, confused and scared. I felt so vulnerable and not knowing what life had in store for me but I was determined about one thing, to choose my own path in life. I realised that if I was going to make it I knew that I had to challenge everything and fight my family, my culture, my traditions, the whole world as I knew it. Yet when I did that I started to grow as a woman, I started to grow as an artist, and I started to grow as a campaigner, and ultimately now I feel that I am growing as a human being as well. What guided you to do this? How did you cope with it?

It was a strong feeling inside of me about the injustices in the world towards women. Faith in myself and realising that despite everything that has happened to

me, to still continue to fight for other women and their basic human rights. I learned to cope with it by being strong, not just for me but for other women who were being forced to be silent. I don’t know why I do it; something inside me just drives me to do it. It has a life of its own and sometimes it exhausts even me and I have to just stop everything, and hide away and recuperate, but I can never

stay still for long, and soon I am back again, stronger than before. Sometimes it scares even me! I relate back to my own pain and the realisation that this is still going on, that women are still being oppressed all over the world and that drives me to be their voice. You are a single mother, with 4 children – what is the story you tell them?

I was truthful with my children and


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always completely open about what had happened to me. My children are my greatest achievement and I am so proud of them and who they are as human beings. I tell them that they are the masters of their own destiny and that they should let their hearts live free and their spirits fly high. I try to set them a good example of how to do that, so that ultimately they can decide their own future as I was never allowed to myself. You are a campaigner and you fight to protect women’s rights – what is the drive that leads you against forced marriage?

My grandmother was married at the age of 11, my aunt married at 13, my mother married at 16 and I know others from home and abroad who were married even younger and had no choice. This is just wrong and it is child abuse in my eyes. That is my drive and it should be everyone’s drive until we have rid the world of this terrible abuse that robs thousands of children of their childhood every day around the world. I come from a country that tells me I am too young to vote and cannot drive or open a bank account or have a mobile contract that lasts for a year. How can I then possibly be responsible enough to enter in to a marriage contract that lasts for a lifetime.” What is your opinion about this phenomenon - is it still happening today?

Yes, this is still happening today. It is a growing cause for concern. My opinion is very clear, this phenomenon is nothing short of rape and paedophilia which needs to be eliminated. What would be your advice for all migrant young women who may be in the same situation as your experience?

I would say to them that they must believe in themselves, have belief in their own rights as a human being and find someone that they trust to help them. If there is no one they can trust then they can contact me and I will help them. Or they can get in touch with one of the humanitarian foundations set up to help, like the Freedom Charity that I am an ambassador for, or The Independent Yemen Group. They will help and help them to gain the courage they need to change their life for the better.

I proved people wrong

I feel that I have achieved a lot – I know of no other female Yemeni artist. But to reach that stage has been hard; many times I have been told – from within my culture and outside it - that I am wasting my time and that what I am trying will amount to nothing. Whether it is because I am a Yemeni woman, or a single mother of four, or because I didn’t complete my schooling and I am dyslexic, or because I have had no official training in art, for many years I have been battling against other people’s opinions. Yet it has been the biggest incentive for me - to prove people wrong.

Between Cultures

My work is mainly paintings and sculpture and it often touches upon how women are depicted and treated in Arabic culture. It also admits that women are sexual beings. Many may think that such subjects have no place in art but what I am expressing is the world as I have experienced it. For me it is the truth. My work may be controversial but it has not stopped me being active within Yemeni organisations in Britain and with the ambassador’s office in London. While there are aspects of Yemeni culture that I object to – such as much of the treatment of women – I’m still proud of my heritage. There are beautiful things about our culture, such as the tradition of people gathering together with beautiful food and music. But this could still happen without the oppression of women.


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This project and its actions were made possible due to co-financing by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals

“SETTLING IN” Research Project Looking to hear about the experience of migrant women settling in the UK! This is a unique opportunity to share your experience and inform policy as a migrant woman who is settling in the UK. The information you provide will enable policy makers and service providers to introduce and implement schemes which address the specific needs of migrant women Eaves, a leading women’s charity with over 30 years experience of working with women is conducting a research project looking into the integration needs and challenges of migrant women who are in the UK as spouse or partner of a British national or someone who is settled here. Having been working with women who came to the UK with, or joining, a spouse/partner settled in the UK; we have witnessed the specific needs of these women. We have also seen the lack of adequate policy discourse around how best to support migrant women integrate into life in the UK. There is a distinct lack of visibility of the issues faced by migrant women and limited capacity to advocate and campaign for policy change both by the women and those supporting them. Consequently, many policy decisions on migration, integration, support needs, etc. do not incorporate their voice. We are undertaking research with migrant women looking at their specific circumstances and the challenges they face. Through focus groups, interviews and consultations with migrant women, those supporting them and other stakeholders, we are gathering and analyzing vital information on the reality and breadth of their personal experiences in a bid to inform better understanding of the challenges and barriers they face.

Are you a woman who has arrived in the UK in the last 10 years as a spouse or partner of a British national or a person with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Are you still on ‘spousal’ or ‘partner’ visa and haven’t changed to ILR or British citizenship?

Do you have a passport from OUTSIDE the European Union?

Do you live in or around London, Oxford, Slough, Woking, Maidstone, Brighton, Southampton or High Wycombe?

Would you like to share your experiences of settling into UK life?

We would like you to participate in our research project! Find out more by emailing the researcher on nisan.kesete@eavesforwomen.org.uk Alternatively you can complete our online survey anonymously on the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NN6KC73


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Forced Marriage A passionate view of why it must be stopped By Sahar Shahid

Yoga closed her eyes and slipped into her favourite daydream. It was so real she felt she was almost there. Yoga could almost touch the deep red material draped around her with elegance and beauty, with those sparkling gems adorning her dress, signifying every hope she had imagined. Yoga could hear the laughter, the teasing, the giggles. She could sense his presence near her, his gaze admiring her like the most beautiful girl in the world while she blushed hopelessly. It was her wedding day. Yoga was bride to the love of her life. Yoga opened her eyes to her mum entering the room to inform her that she and her dad had decided who she was to marry. Yoga felt confused and angry. It was her life, her marriage, why should someone else decide? She protested. Only to be slapped across the face and locked in her room. Yoga knew that she had no choice. There was no point in fighting. Yoga would be married off to a man she had never met, didn’t know, nor would she have the chance to get to know him first. Her fate had been decided for her, her doom ordered by her own parents.

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his is not an arranged married. It is a forced marriage, which is a very real issue. It does not happen just in other countries. It happens here, in the UK, in the 21st century. It has only very recently become illegal. Forced Marriage is often excused under the veil of cultural practices. Arranged marriage is a cultural practice. Forced marriage is abuse and cannot be justified by culture nor religion. Forced marriage, as the name suggests, does not allow for choice to be part of the equation. It is an act that a girl, or even a boy, submits to for fear of consequence or violence. Victims of forced marriage or threatened forced marriage have to suffer unimaginable abuse at the hands of their own family, and most of the time their own parents.  Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse. It is to control someone’s life and decisions and if the victim refuses, control, threats or violence is used in order to achieve submission from the victim. However, should the victim succeed in getting away, the end can often be more brutal than what one would imagine a family member capable, the death of the victim. This is often disgracefully justified under so called Honour Based Abuse, where atrocious violence, kidnapping, and often death of a daughter, niece, sister or cousin is excused under the pretext of ‘saving the family honour’.  Yoga was only 18 and wanted to go to

university and study medicine and practice as a heart surgeon one day. Her teacher believed she was capable. Yoga now felt this dream was more out of reach than the hope of marrying someone she could feel love for. Approximately 3,000 reports of forced marriage cases are made to the Forced Marriage Protection Unit per year. This is only a reflection of those who are courageous enough to risk serious


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Abuse is inexcusable and cannot be justified in ANY way. Help is available and the law stands as a shield for victims of forced marriagE

Yoga felt totally isolated, after all, she would be betraying her own family if she told anyone. Where would she go? How would she live, they are her only means of financial support. The community would turn against her. Yoga had no choice. She knew her brother would hunt her down with his friends and beat her up with a baseball bat. They did it to her cousin. Or maybe they would even kill her. Yoga couldn’t disgrace the family name like that for her own wishes, she thought. This thought pattern is a ref lection of the emotional abuse she has been victim to. However, these fears are very real. This prevents many from escaping. There is a way out. The Forced Marriage Protection Order is enforced by the law and to breach it is a criminal offence. Many victims feel they would be at risk from the whole community and anyone that knows them should they attempt escape. Many have already suffered horrendous physical abuse, threats and kidnappings to even consider escape.  Abuse is inexcusable and cannot be justified in ANY way. Help is available and the law stands as a shield for victims of forced marriage. Support agencies are aware of the risks and safety measures which need to be activated. You have the right to live. And to choose who you want to live with. The decision should be yours only. Speak up. 

harm to themselves and others, in order to escape from even riskier situations should they go ahead with the forced marriage. There are innumerable other victims who submit. Once the marriage happens, the abuse does not stop there. Often the victim then suffers incredible levels of financial, emotional, physical, sexual and psychological abuse from her husband and his family. They believe that they have the right to treat her like

a slave and fulfil every need and desire that they have while disregarding her smallest needs. It is not surprising in the slightest that women who are a victim of a forced marriage live lives infested with emotional, psychological and physical health difficulties. Why doesn’t she just run away you ask, before or even after the marriage? 

The violence had got worse, and Yoga was a prisoner in her own home. Eyes were watching her all the time. They may control her life, but she would not give them the right to dictate her death. Yoga had to escape. She tore down the barriers and told her teacher. This was the bravest thing she had done. Seven years later, Yoga was now sat next to a man, surrounded by a few close friends. He smiled at her... and she smiled back. She was now wife to the love of her life. A different end is possible. Believe and Act.


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life

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Starting Over Again?

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ow many times were you more than 100% sure that you just nailed that problem that was bothering you for along period of time, and now, finally, was solved. Then, after a week or so, you discovered that you were not even close to solving it, and you went back to square one.

Aura Imbarus, PhD Clinical hypnotherapist, motivational speaker, and author of the Amazon best-seller - “Out of the Transylvania Night: A Story of Tyranny, Freedom, Love and Identity” www.auraimbarus.com

Well, that is called the Puzzle of Life! How many times can you start all over? As many times as needed would be one answer. Another answer would be that there is no beginning and no end, and everything is in a continuous flow. So, we don’t start over, but we transform ourselves with every new experience, with every new encounter, with every new given moment.

A goal is a dream with a deadline, and, for each and every dream, you need to be able to start from an imaginary ground zero. Of course it is hard, but it is not impossible. Small steps are needed; big goals are required in order to succeed. Each and every day brings with it the beauty of a new beginning, and the struggle of a new fight. Every day we are thrown by destiny back into the fighting arena, and at night, we need to draw a line and sum it up. Whatever we went through, it was there for a purpose. The people you met, the circumstances you were part of, the places you went to, all of them have been creating the map of your intentions and actions. People have been down, and even lower than that, and, sometimes at their lowest


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point, and still, as long as they found the motivation to get back on the horse, the chance of becoming victorious started. Nothing was done over night. Rome was not built in twenty-four hours; Paramount Pictures didn’t just spring over night in the entertainment business, and Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, and Love didn’t become famous over night, and not even Abraham Lincoln became the president of the US based on a single run. So, yes, it is hard to start all over, but if you just think of a moment that can build itself upon another moment, you will be closer to the finishing line, one day at a time.

Photo Credit: Emily M. Yeo

“Morning is a new sheet of paper for you to write on. Whatever you want to say, all day, until night folds it up and files it away. The bright words and the dark words are gone until dawn and a new day to write on.” (Eve Merriam)

People have the tendency to plan for the future by going down the memory lane, searching for the past, reenacting it and playing the same tape that didn’t work out in our favor in the first place. Very few of us really absorb the present, while taking in the paradise of today. The only physical time we can live in is the Present, for the Future is not tangible and the Past is a matter of the heart. So, why is our mind constantly wondering, searching, digging for answers and jumping on déjà-vu moments? Why can we just stand still and inhale the landscape’s fragrance, the one that just unfolds its beauty under our eyes the way a rose peels its petals? Why is it so hard to do nothing and seize the fresh second? This unique moment is the one that will never come back. Similar experiences will remind us of it, but the truth is that it is gone while we speak. We are in a race against time the moment we are born, and each and every moment eludes from the hourglass in matter of blinks. There are swift and precious instants we don’t care for, but they are the ones pilling up to add another year to our life’s calendar. Same places, same people, maybe same

experiences, but for sure, different moments! The more I think about my life, the more Marcel Proust comes to mind, ‘searching for the lost time.’ With the help of a Madeleine’s smell, I recreate the scene of a crisp Transylvanian morning when my Mom was baking vanilla scones to complement my hot, steamy milk and cocoa. The Sequoia tree and its imposing stature stand still for my recollection of another year spent in the same place with my family. How much I wish to have them back! How much I desire to be transported back in time, to a moment when all of us were together. But, even if the reality or what I perceive to be real has changed, nobody can take away the memories of many well-spent sparkles of time and their intensity. Time is our enemy, and we don’t even face it. We hide our faces from it, we cover our traces, and we disguise our persona. We cannot control it, for we don’t live each and every second to its ultimate intensity. Split seconds grow wings and fly away. So, yes, it is important to carpe diem, but more important is to seize the moment! And that moment is the first one from a fresh page that we all start to write on each and every early morning… So, can we really start all over? Yes, now, while I am writing this article, I am starting a new journey, a new stage in my life that is unique, even if it seems similar to other stages and other experiences, it has the stamp of time and the seal of my soul for authenticity. It is a virgin land in my mind and a new freshly cut cloth in my soul. It is the new me of this moment in time, unmistakably new, genuine, bright, intense, courageous and ready for life. As the waives of the ocean follow each other in the never ending ocean so does each and every one of my own musical notes, creating the simple symphony of what I call: Life. I am, after all, the Conductor and the Master of Ceremony for all those mornings of my existence.


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Personal perspectives

Job Hunting Challenges & Opportunities

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inding a job during a hard economic period is a challenge for anyone, but it can be more difficult for migrant women. There are many factors which may influence negatively on their job hunting, such us the language barrier, the lack of networking, lack of knowledge and information, or social support, which can all reduce their confidence. Here we can read the views of women who have succeeded in their career or business, and now tell a story with a happy ending. Vivienne provides her experience and perception as a first-generation immigrant. Abidemi shares a realistic view of the ‘phenomenon’. Luljeta has a strong message to encourage women to overcome every challenge, as she did. Whereas Shemin gives us an expert professional insight and great tips on how we succeed in getting the job that we want.


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life lessons

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Believe in the job of your dreams By Vivienne Aiyela

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s a migrant woman we are faced with many challenges in life and our careers, the most important lesson is to be the best that you can be. Never give up. Look at every opportunity as an adventure. Don’t be afraid to learn something new. Put yourself out there as it opens up your mind to greater experiences and opportunities. If you come across people who tell you no, then bypass them and don’t take no for the final answer. Overcoming prejudice

Born and raised in London, I often forget that many people are not born here. Walking around central London, it is a huge melting pot of different languages and hues of colour skin tones. Many are here for work and a better life, some even come because they are told by friends and family that opportunities are bountiful and the streets are paved with gold. London is the most diverse city in the UK, and this includes businesses from small entrepreneurs to major international brands. Sadly, so many businesses do not reflect the communities they serve or do business with. Businesses are crying out for talent, in fact they want to hire the ‘best talent’ to help develop and make their brand the leaders in the field they operate in. Many are missing out on talent because they recruit in their own image or even unconscious bias. What is Unconscious Bias? ‘Attitudinal biases about gender, age, race etc, that we are unaware we have and are unaware we act upon’. Gender and race is a big topic and addressing this is an ongoing agenda for businesses, including the large corporations. This affects migrant women, as even though many are highly educated

with outstanding skills and experience, often they may still not get the job. I believe that people are people and deserve to be treated equally. However, as I have got older, and wiser, graduated from university and entered the world of work, I have realised that gender and race are still a big issue. This comes from the unconscious bias that we may have. My professional background is in hu-

man resources and my passion for people and fashion is what drives me. Being an entrepreneur with a bespoke personal styling concierge service business running alongside my HR career proves to me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Many entrepreneurs start off by working on their business part-time. However, the job market is less ‘friendly’ to ethnic minorities and this was highlighted in a recent survey


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I recall meeting a couple of recruitment consultants who told me that my experience and skills gained from working as a Board member was insignificant experience and that I should leave it off my CV. Job hunting is overwhelming and I am even considering changing my career, looking for new opportunities where I can use my experience and people and business skills

Follow or contact Vivienne at: viv@clothes4realwomen.com Twitter: #GoddessofGalmour1 www.clothes4realwomen.com

stating that a third of Britons admit to being racially prejudiced. The organisation ‘Opportunity Now’ undertakes an annual benchmarking survey that analyses workplace practices and cultures, enabling employers to better drive change, make equality a reality and reap the business benefits of getting it right. Opportunities to help my career have occurred when least expected. Most re-

cently for the last eight/nine years I was an Advisor/Board member (non-executive director) to a very high profile male dominated organisation in London, working closely with the CEO, executive board and senior management team and also a Housing Association. The roles were very challenging and strategic and I was involved in transforming the organisations. With the Housing Association, I was involved in a

£100million regeneration programme. Both roles gave me opportunities and experiences that I would never have dreamt of including chairing committees which led to receiving an award, recruiting 6,000 staff for the Olympics, working on an international project that was based at The Hague in the Netherlands, and media training delivered by the Press Association, plus more. I never once thought that because I was a woman and being black that I shouldn’t be ‘sitting at the table’ in a male dominated environment. Another opportunity has opened up in the sports industry, when I was approached recently to be part of a panel to address equality and diversity in a high profile brand. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, is known for her voice supporting women in leadership roles and this is detailed in her book ‘Lean In’. She is famous for telling women to ‘sit at the table’, referring to attending management and executive board meetings. Take a seat at the table, don’t sit on the side and hide. Have presence at the meeting and get your voice heard. Even though you may not have something to say, you must have presence and sitting at the table tells your colleagues that. During my search for HR jobs I have faced unconscious bias and numerous rejections. I am often told that I have a great CV. I recall meeting a couple of recruitment consultants who told me that my experience and skills gained from working as a Board member was insignificant experience and that I should leave it off my CV. Job hunting is overwhelming and I am even considering changing my career, looking for new opportunities where I can use my experience and people and business skills. We are faced with many challenges in life and our careers, and the most important lesson is to be the best that you can be. Never give up. Look at every opportunity as an adventure. Don’t be afraid to learn something new. Put yourself out there as it opens up your mind to greater experiences and opportunities. If you come across people who tell you no, then bypass them and don’t take no for the final answer.


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Prejudice? If it isn’t working - Go solo! By Abidemi Sanusi

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ometimes, I think, ‘Is it because I’m Asian?’ But, I hate it when I start thinking like that, because I sound paranoid and you don’t want to be tagged as one of those ‘racism people’. Yet I’ve been overlooked for promotion twice and I can’t shake off the niggling feeling that my race had something to do with it. I recall when we were at an evening event five years ago that had been organised by our recruitment agency. I met a young Indian lady, who had been blessed with a vibrant personality, brains to match, and she clearly knew her stuff – marketing, as it happens. The lady, let’s call her Shona, summed up the challenge and thoughts that every migrant faces in the job market. When you’ve applied for every job going and you make it to the interview stage, or you’re simply not making the kind of progress you want to in your career, the doubts and suspicions, as terrible as they are, start to creep in. It’s my name. It’s not Jane Smith, so they think I can’t speak English. They have a problem with my race. I’ve been here 10 years and they still think I’m the stereotypical ‘angry black woman.’ Admittedly, not every job rejection is about race. Sometimes, you’re just not good enough. And, you have to be honest with yourself to admit it. Looking back

In the late 1990s, fresh out of university, I went to register with a recruitment agency. I turned up in the office at the appointed time and was kept waiting for well over an hour. When the recruitment agent dared to make an appearance, she said (ad verbatim):

When I left that office, I felt humiliated, angry and embarrassed. In the first instance, why tell me to come and register, if she knew I wasn’t wanted? Secondly, I knew that something possibly illegal had taken place in that office, but I didn’t know what. And, even if I reported the incident (to whom, I didn’t even know), there was nothing in her words to indicate what her eyes were clearly communicating to me, so I didn’t have a case to build on. The way forward

Abidemi Sanusi is the founder of Ready Writer Ltd, which provides content writing and training services to companies www.thereadywriter.co.uk

“We can register you, but finding you jobs in publishing might be a bit of a challenge, because publishing is notoriously traditional and some people are resistant to change.” She looked at me full in the eye, so that I could understand what her eyes were saying, even if her lips were saying something else.

In subsequent years, through countless job applications, career highs and lows, all in all, 10 years of freelancing and contracting, I have come to the following conclusions regarding the thorny issue of racism in the job market: • It takes many shapes and forms. Sometimes, it’s so subtle, that you tell yourself you imagined it. • Sometimes, it’s not about race, but about your skills and personality – you’re just not suited to the job. Accept it and move on • You can always strike out on your own I started working full-time on Ready Writer, about 18 months ago. I’d been a published author (seven books and counting), worked for some of the most high-profile organisations in the world (UN, Number 10/Cabinet Office, Unilever), when I realised that I was better off investing my time and energy in my own business, so I set up Ready Writer Ltd. It’s been a heck of a journey, but, the difference is that this time, I’m not the ‘other’. As the business owner, I’m the one in charge of my career, not the forces that be.


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The language route By Luljeta Nuzi

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hen I arrived in London, my English was very basic and to be honest I could not understand anything at all unless people wrote it down for me in the simplest way or spoke to me in French – says Luljeta Nuzi, who today is very confident and speaks a very professional language. Today she holds a number of qualifications ranging from a First Cambridge certificate in English, to Counselling for Refugees, and even a Management Level 4. However, she thinks there is still a lot more to do and is working on it every day. What has helped Luljeta the most to develop her English skills has been her attitude towards learning and employment. She believes there is nothing that stops people from achieving something, but instead, there are barriers that people have to discover and learn how to overcome them. Just because you do not speak a language doesn’t mean that you can’t work. You start by using the skills that you have, and by doing so you start to learn the language from a strong position of understanding what you are doing. Luljeta’s story

I remember when I first started to learn English - I passed all my exams and sometimes I was the only one to have passed in my class, but when it came to speaking, I often mixed the present with future tenses. God only knows how people understood me. When I managed to make myself understood by others I would be so happy. Some of the people that I knew then were waiting for their language skills to be perfect, and in fact, some are still waiting. Learning the language is like swimming - you learn it by practicing in the water, you learn the language talking to people. The first job

My jobs have always been interesting

and at the same time, enjoyable. They have also helped me to get the next job. My first job came as a result of a discussion with my mum at nearly aged 10, and it was regarding me wanting to find a job because I wanted to have new books and not old ones with missing pages. So my uncle offered for me to work with him at my grandmother’s house helping him on the farm. You have no idea how happy I was that year. I had a wonderful summer, I worked and when I came back, I was all tanned because of swimming at the small river at break time. I continued to do that every summer holiday - doing different jobs and every summer getting paid more than the year before. Having chosen a difficult subject to study at UNI such as Electrical Engineering and knowing the fact that very few engineers were qualified every year meant that the job was waiting for me. When I arrived in the UK I spoke no English, but my French came in very handy to help me communicate. After I settled in, I then decided to help others that needed someone to help them and this put me in a good position. As a result of this, I had my first job as Field researcher with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Then volunteering with RAMP as an advisor. The interpreting I did led me to get a job with the Children’s Society as the Parents Advisor, and after that I became the full time project director at Shpresa. Hopefully the experience that I have now will lead me to become a consultant. Tips from Luljeta

1. These days you can create your own jobs around your skills at that particular time. 2. Creating your own job works better for migrants because they can use their skills while they are developing the language skills. 3. In this way they don’t lose their confidence in the job market but they grow with it.

Who is Luljeta?

Luljeta Nuzi is the founder of the Shpresa Programme (Shpresa means ‘Hope’ in the Albanian language), a user led organisation that works to promote the integration of the Albanian community in the UK, using a family approach and partnership work. She believes in integration with dignity and not assimilation and has chosen, as vehicles to achieve this, the social entrepreneurship and community organising movements. Shpresa works in partnership with a range of organisations, especially mainstream schools. Luljeta is a strong believer that everyone should be given the chance, and encouraged to learn their mother tongue language, and should be able to get a recognised qualification for it. Currently Shpresa is in partnership with London Citizens and supported by PWC, to run a funding campaign to establish a GCSE qualification for the Albanian language. Luljeta is a Trustee of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Governor of Gascoigne, one of the largest primary schools in the UK, and a trustee of the Barking and Dagenham Council for Volunteer Services.


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life lessons

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life lessons

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Shamin Iqbal

How to change and direct your own life and career

Shamin is a highly professional woman, an international leader in headhunting recruitment and training. In this interview we get to know more about Shamin’s achievements and she also shares with us some wisdom and tips that migrant women can use when they are applying for a job By Lela Struga What does your job mean to you?

I want to help and empower others to find worthwhile work and to give them the tools and processes that will ensure their success. I am one of those people that has always been successful at interviews and got the job, and change direction easily and successfully. For some people being able to sell themselves and have a good conversation is natural. It was not until I got into headhunting that I realised

how difficult it was for some people to position themselves and do well at interviews, or to generally manage and map out their career. When I graduated from university I remember some of the best students had not secured a job, and I still see this today with some of the best people slipping through the net. You have interviewed many people - what are the mistakes that unsuccessful candi-

dates make during the job interview?

I have been in the headhunting and recruitment business for over 15 years and spent the last 12 years running my own business. So I have interviewed a lot of people. As I mentioned, one of the things that surprised me right at the beginning was how inept candidates can be at interviewing, bearing in mind that I was headhunting the best people at the top of their game. Yet they still made mistakes

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life lessons and could not always position themselves as well. It was when one of my candidates did not get the job that I decided to give every single one of my candidates interview skills training, to ensure that they gave their best performance and I was able to iron out any issues before the interview. The results spoke for themselves; I was never in the position that any of my candidates did not get the job again. It was something that my candidates commented on over and over again as being the thing that made the difference. Nothing was left to chance and we prepared the candidates well in advance. What would you advise them in order to give their best?

I decided to roll out this service and set up a training company to help candidates who are looking for work or wishing to change direction. The service starts from setting goals and identifying values before mapping out a market and putting together a marketing plan as pre-steps to getting their application and CV’s in order. We coach candidates on putting together a compelling pitch that they can use at any time to sell themselves and of course when an interview is due to be attended, we ensure that the candidate is properly prepared. Most of the questions that come up can be predicted and rehearsed beforehand. Some candidates need NLP to deal with nerves and others need to be told how to dress appropriately but the most important factor is to be able to exude confidence, and give your best performance without any unexpected questions being thrown at you. If you think about it, you would not attempt to take an exam without preparing for it. An interview is like a test so preparation is the key to success. What is the vision you have for your future career?

My vision is to have a global business that reaches out to a wide spectrum of people from all communities and to empower and equip them with lifelong skills. Let’s face it, there is no such thing as job security or a life time career as we used to know it. People are having to change direction because sometimes markets change and the internet has affected many sectors. Increasingly, people are looking for fulfilling work and want to align it with

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Who is Shamin?

Shamin Iqbal is an international leader in Headhunting Recruitment and Training with fifteen years experience in running businesses and sourcing to multinational corporate technology clients. Shamin has shown the ability to succeed in difficult markets and launched her first business during the dotcom crash. She has a sound professional background in the legal sector where Shamin was the first litigation lawyer appointed by Barclays Bank in their head office. Shamin is currently leading a training company focused on the professional and graduate market sector, helping them in mapping their careers and securing jobs.

their life purposes. This means being adaptable to change and to direct your own life and career. A lot of what I teach is to enable others to map out a career and to take constructive steps towards achieving their goals rather than just taking a job that is available. Why do some people lose their faith in finding a job?

Many people looking for work find themselves getting lost, disillusioned and depressed when they are not getting results and that is because so many people are chasing the one vacancy that is advertised. Instead what they need to do is to look within themselves to decide what they really want to do. This process generates a level of passion and enthusiasm which fires up the motivation to succeed, and having a partner to work with allows not only creativity but the opportunity to network outside your own immediate network. You can find that suddenly things will happen quickly because once you are clear about what you are looking for, there is always a match for someone that is looking for your exact skills.

It often happens that people lose the opportunity of getting their job because they are overqualified. What would you say about that?

People are moving all over the world for work and often the rules are different in each country. For example, I have always found that international candidates CV’ s do not fit into the criteria of a what we consider to be a good CV in the UK or US. I have found that although universities and colleges have career departments, students tend not to use them as they do not feel that their needs are being fulfilled. The ability to drive and direct your own career are a key part of the important skills that you need. These skills should be taught as early as possible, as soon as you leave school. You can then set your time-line and forecast and track your success along the way. From time to time you will have to make adjustments , or find yourself wanting a complete career change but that is okay, it is part of your progress in life. Once you have the tools you don’t need to worry because the process is pretty much the same.


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Tips from Shamin

Moving to a new country? Improve the language skills One of the first things that is a barrier are the language skills, so I suggest that an immediate step is to take language classes. Integrate with the culture Alongside this is the fact of being in a different country, sometimes a different climate and most definitely a different culture. All these things can lead to feeling isolated. However a surprising number of people are coming here to find work and do so fairly quickly, since we are all now living in a global market. Attend training courses It might take a bit of effort and some training and education to brush up on skills that are required but it is a fact that international candidates bring diversity and language skills, which often are lacking in the labour market.

I believe that success is the product of doing what you love and believing wholeheartedly in your mission. From an early age I have been involved in helping people. When I was a youngster I used to help people in my community who could not speak English. I would accompany them to the doctors, solicitors and fill out forms. I then chose to qualify as a lawyer so that I could help others for a living. I set up my headhunting business for finding the best candidates for corporate companies and placing candidates in their dream jobs. I loved it, seeing the results in the lives of those I placed and also the companies who were able to excel as a result of the people that I was putting in to their companies. I get a buzz when my candidate gets the job. You won’t believe it, working with graduates and seeing how tough it is and how much it means to them. I feel successful knowing that I have contributed to their success. In many ways contributing to the lives of others and making that important difference is a human need and we all thrive on it. That, to me is success.

Start your business A great many entrepreneurs decide to come to the UK to start their business and London is a multi-cultural society that is open to other cultures and communities. Make yourself marketable Making yourself marketable is important and this requires taking steps to ensure that you have researched the companies that you are interested in working for. Know the recruitment procedure so that you can prepare yourself. Update your CV Get a professional company to do your CV. Make your application stand out and practice your interview in advance. Do a good supplication Applications for jobs are scored and should be treated like an interview. Each question carries a score and you need to get a certain amount to go through to the next round. Your application must match the job description and in particular you have to stand out from other applicants. This means giving examples of work and having excellent testimonials in addition to the academic qualifications required. Practice in advance In my experience when international candidates get nervous they lose their language skills and it is important to practice the questions in advance so that you are confident.


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mind

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Roxana Parra

Migration can be a tremendously positive experience for your career

R

oxana was born between The Andes and the Pacific Ocean, in Santiago de Chile. At that time her parents, Guillermo and Lucia, already had her sister Ximena and her brother Rodrigo. She was born the same day of her paternal grandmother and since then her birthday celebration has been a big family party that lasted for three days, because her sister’s birthday is a day before, hers and her dad’s birthday is a day after. These circumstances made her love social life and big parties where several generations get together and to appreciate the importance of family, friendship and togetherness, regardless of where they have all ended up living around the world. Her life has been defined by her various migrations, which has probably fed her love for travelling. A few years after Roxana had finished her Master’s degree, she met her husband of today. Love brought her to London and she has been living here since the summer of 2006.

What motivated you to become a psychologist? How would you describe this journey so far?

I have always been an observer of people and nature. At school I had a great interest in science and when the time came to make a decision of what to study, I knew that I wanted

to put together my interest for people, social phenomenon and science. I thought that psychology would give me that and I was right. When I say that I am passionate about my work, I mean it. After I had finished school, I went to Temuco, a little town in the south of Chile, an

area of outstanding natural beauty. There, I studied for my bachelor degree in Psychology and Psychotherapy at Mayor University. After I graduated from University, I migrated to Spain and while living in Barcelona, I studied for a Master’s degree in Social Cognitive Therapy at Barcelona University. Here in London, I have furthered my studies in the understanding of Trauma at Tavistock and Portman, and in Clinical Supervision at Metanoia Institute. What are the main issues you deal with for your clients in therapy, especially with women?

My international experience studying and working as a psychotherapist, has given me the opportunity to work with a diverse range of mental health issues. In Chile I worked at the psychotherapy clinic at a psychiatric hospital where I worked with men and women


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who were dealing with all kinds of difficulties and severe mental health issues. I also created a group with intern men and women who got together using audio-visual resources. The result of that work was a short animation film made by them. Through the years I have worked with a great variety of issues. People come to therapy because they are suffering for a reason. I have worked with survivors of trauma, abuse and torture, women dealing with fertility issues, depression, psychosis, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety disorders and bereavement amongst others. My working specifically with women became more developed here in London and allowed me to specialise in the understanding of trauma. I have worked as psychotherapist with women refugees and asylum seekers, and worked with Latin American women survivors of all kinds of traumatic experiences. I am now the clinical lead of the Counselling Service at Solace Women’s Aid, which is a specialist service working to provide emotional and psychological support to women survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. In this role I have the responsibility to oversee the therapeutic work the service provides, through 13 boroughs across London. In my capacity as clinical supervisor and senior counsellor, I work hand in hand with a group of talented and professional women whom I support in their professional capacity. I also have my private practice in central London. Many women complain that they can’t find a job when they arrive in a new country. Why is finding a job such a big challenge for them?

I think it is worth considering at this point the fact that we tend to think that women who don’t have a paid job are not working, when the reality is that women who don’t go out to work are actually working at home and for free. Finding a job is a job in itself for anyone, locals and migrants, but for women it proves to have some added complexity. It is especially hard for people out of their own culture, for women with children, with a limited or complete lack of a support network, who see their opportunities to find a job as being hugely limited. Even more so considering the cost of child care and the trouble with making pay

work as a viable option. On a different angle, it is known that in the Latin American community in London, many women actually tend to become the main breadwinner in their families after migration. Many women have had their own career in their home country and when they migrate they give up - they lose the hope. How is this explained?

Migration and the integration to a new culture and society have its difficulties and require a great investment of energy and effort. Those who have studied in another country arrive in their new home country with professional experience and knowledge that the local system doesn’t always recognise. In those circumstances, a sometimes lengthy period of validation of qualifications may stop you from getting a job in the field you have trained in. If we add to the equation a logical need to have a job, you may end up doing any kind of work that will help you to fulfil your needs. That is how you find highly qualified people doing jobs that require no or little qualifications. The validation of titles and qualifications isn’t a straightforward process and depends on the requirements and procedures of the institutions in the new home country as to how long that may take, and that may be years. English is not the first language, time and patience is required to achieve a command of the language that allows you to confidently face the challenges ahead. In the face of this reality it is easy to lose hope and give up. Some women completely change careers and others retrain in order to update and adapt their original qualifications to the standards of the new home country requirements. Having said that, I think that migration can also be a tremendously positive experience for your career, and might also lead to success and professional fulfilment. How do you remember your experience during the first year in a new country?

When I first arrived in London, although it wasn’t the first time I have migrated, it was very difficult! Yet I wouldn’t change anything of what happened during my first year in London because from those early experiences I grew, met people, made friends, further developed my relationship and got an enormously

When I first arrived in London, although it wasn’t the first time I have migrated, it was very difficult! Yet I wouldn’t change anything of what happened during my first year in London valuable experience as a therapist and person. All of that combined with my previous experiences of migration helped me to become the woman I am and do the job I do now. What would be your advice for women who want to integrate in the new society?

From my experience, what worked for me was to have (and create) a network of friends and colleagues who became my support and guide when I wasn’t sure of my next step forward or didn’t know certain procedure. I believe that curiosity, flexibility, a positive approach to change and a good work ethic helps to get through those years that are not only filled with uncertainty, but also with new things to know and discover from the new culture and one self. To have a goal helps to know where to start and where to go, following one step at a time towards your dreams and objectives and don’t give up. Sometimes it is necessary to go backwards to move even further so don’t be afraid of starting again... and again. I found that mentoring programmes are helpful and have been both mentee and mentor. I was formally and informally mentored and inspired by many incredibly talented, generous and supportive women along my journey, for which I will be always grateful.


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family

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Shlomo Ariel The impact of migration on the family relationships

Minorities in general and migrant minorities in particular are always in a vulnerable position. They are not easily accepted by the hosting society even in multicultural democratic countries – Says Shlomo Ariel, family therapist


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You have been working with families for a long time and dealing with many issues that they reveal in therapy. What makes a family become dysfunctional?

I believe that every difficulty of an individual or a family for which therapy is sought is the product of a complex combination of factors of a great variety of kinds: genetic, developmental, cognitive, emotional, cultural, ecological, social, political etc. as well as the result of life events beyond the person’s control. More specifically, family dysfunction often results from a bad choice of marriage partners. Falling in love is often not a good reason for committing oneself to a life-long marriage. Marriages break because of lack of suitability in things that had seemed before the marriage unimportant, such as different biological clocks, different tempos (being fast vs. being slow) different esthetic tastes, etc. Even the best functioning families can become dysfunctional because people and their situations change. Many families are unable to adapt themselves to changes in ways that preserve or restore good functioning. For example, a cute little girl, daddy’s own private princess, has been turned into a rebellious adolescent. Her father cannot tolerate this change and begins subjecting her to harsh and ineffective disciplinary measures, which only aggravates the situation. Typical dysfunctional attempts to cope with change are: (a) Failing to take into account relevant information (that your daughter is not a little girl anymore but a perfectly normal adolescent) (b) Complicating the family relationships with irrelevant information (e.g. attributing the change in your daughter to the bad influence of her best friend) (c) Misinterpreting information (e.g. The father tells himself that his daughter hates him) (d) Fluctuating, inconsistent responses (e.g. the father fluctuates between trying to be ‘modern and liberal’ toward his daughter and being authoritarian) When families emigrate, they have to change their routine and build new programmes in order to cope and deal with their new life. What impact do you think that immigration has on family member relationships?

Talking about change, immigration is one of the major stressful changes in a family’s life that can bring about multiple dysfunctions if maladaptive strategies are adopted: Becoming a part

Minorities in general and migrant minorities in particular are always in a vulnerable position. They are not easily accepted by the hosting society even in multicultural democratic countries of an unwelcome minority, encountering an unfamiliar culture, language barriers, glass ceilings on jobs, housing, schools, etc. The impacts on family members relationships can be multiple, but one typical impact, manifested often in families who have emigrated from more traditional cultures into Western countries, has to do with the reversal of traditional gender and generation roles. Thanks to work and study necessities and opportunities, women and youngsters assimilate the new language and culture faster than adult men. The latter lose their previous dominant position and out of stress and anxiety tend to respond in the dysfunctional ways listed above. Typical symptoms are pathological jealousy, violence toward women and children, substance abuse, and depression in men, which affect the whole family. What are the main mistakes that migrant families should avoid when they arrive in a new country?

Following the above discussion, I think one mistake is showing disrespect toward the elders and adult males in the family. Even if the elders and the previous male heads of the family have not adapted themselves to the new culture, language and ways of life as well as the women, the children and the adolescents, their life experience and traditional world view should be respected and supported. Also, two opposite characteristic errors should be avoided: Erasing the previous, pre-immigration culture and traditions, and the contrary – surrounding the family with a wall against any external influences in order to conserve the previous culture in a freezer. Such a wall will always be more penetrable than the family would like to believe. As a family therapist, what would be your advice for those who migrate to successfully integrate in the new country?

Shlomo Ariel

Minorities in general and migrant minorities in particular are always in a vulnerable position. They are not easily accepted by the hosting society even in multicultural democratic countries. One condition for a successful integration is making serious efforts to learn the language and culture of the hosting society and associate with local people, while at the same time preserving one’s own cultural identity, by remaining in close contacts with one’s family and own cultural community, both in the hosting country and in the home country. Learning the language and culture of the hosting country can be done both formally, by participating in courses, workshops, social gatherings, etc. as well as informally, by socialising with local people in various direct and indirect ways, such as making Facebook friends. People in the hosting country will more readily accept a foreigner if he or she is not aloof but friendly and eager to get to know you better, but at the same time ‘different’ in a way that arouses their curiosity.


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

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culture

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A new language for a new life Rainela Xhemollari - Counsellor

How does language change us and how we choose to live? Learning a language, especially in a new home country comes with new beliefs, perceptions and social skills. Here are a few stories from two women and our interviewer that give answers to such questions drawn from their experience

The journey 8.30 am: Travelling to Reading, en route to the job I always wanted to do, Family Therapist. This journey reminds me of my training days; for three years I was travelling to Swindon on this very same itinerary - with dreams, high motivation, curiosity and a great passion for good mental health. The only thing standing in my way – was English. Psychotherapy is a profession so profoundly based on language; the ability to communicate with words, human feelings and all that is related to the personal inner world and interpersonal dynamics. I knew how to find my way around London, I was able to go shopping and deal with daily life. However, it was not until I found my way through English that I achieved professional competence.

My memories connected me with the women’s experiences from my interviews. I found it very interesting to listen to the stories and ideas of these women. The beginning, although different for each one, looked daunting and unclear. The description of the initial weeks reminded me how many migrants experience the need to learn the language with strong emotions attached to it. This is not just a new course one attends at home with curiosity for the language and the culture it represents. They describe how the new language impacts on personal life, plans and dreams and on every potential achievement. Motherhood is also mentioned as largely affected by the ability to speak the language; a woman’s self-confidence and ability to act as a parent is enhanced, or restricted

as Virginia says. What motivates a person to overcome these difficulties and overwhelming emotions? In the Migrant Integration Policy Index there is extensive information on the fact that migration receiving countries place increasing importance on newly arrived migrants learning the local language. This has hardly proved to be the driver so far. The instinct of survival, the negative and unwanted feelings and situations, can operate as the driving force as we naturally strive towards happier and fulfilling situations. The little achievements give rise to bigger dreams and the effort carries on. The encouragement offered by these women contains many little practical tips. I would like to single out some heart-warming messages that I loved talking to them about, such as ‘You are not alone, we have all been there’, ‘Go out and enjoy life and the ability to speak the language will come’ and ‘Learn and have lots of fun on the way’. (As a daughter of migrants I wrote this with love and great faith for all my fellow immigrants, first generation and new arrivals).

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culture/interview

Vera Koubkova

Language and the culture go hand in hand

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Vera Spender Koubkova was born in the Czech Republic and came to London after finishing her university studies, in May 2000. She worked as an IT consultant on a project for UBS, an international investment bank, in London. She has lived and worked in the UK since then. Today Vera is a freelance project consultant and helps companies deliver change projects based around the implementation of new technology. She also manages a charity, building schools for orphans in Kenya and lectures at various business schools in London You have been in the UK for a long time now but the accent is always different for those who are not native. What do you think of your accent?

I agree. My accent has changed over the years but it is still different from the native accent. In comparison to people who left their home and decided to live in a foreign country say 100 years ago, we are, in my view, very lucky. The global nature of today’s cities makes it much easier for us to be accepted and blend in. Especially those of us who moved to an English speaking country. As English is such a widely used language, English native speakers are used to other people speaking their language with


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different accents. I did consider finding a specialist who would help me change my accent so that I would sound like a native speaker. A bit like a “My Fair Lady” of the 21st century I suppose. Every time I share the idea of changing my accent with any of my English friends or colleagues, they vigorously oppose it as a complete nonsense. That is reassuring. A few years ago, I worked for Barclays bank. They had a Spanish lady in their sales team and she was able to get through even to customers who refused to speak to the native English advisers. People found her accent more friendly and more honest, less likely to sell them products they didn’t want. Having said that, in certain professions, such as politics, having “the wrong” accent may be an inhibiting factor and makes one vulnerable to prejudice. What is your story of learning English when you first arrived in London?

I had already spoken some English when I first came to London. I started a relationship with a native speaker of English. That was how I improved my English. With hindsight, this was a very effective way of learning about both the language and the culture. When I first moved to the UK, however, I worked with native speakers and I didn’t know anyone who spoke my language, so I had to get used to using English and hearing English all the time. That was overwhelming and tiring. I was also working for an investment bank in the UK which was much more developed in terms of products and processes than the bank I previously worked for in the Czech Republic. So I had to learn all this new terminology and new jargon. Sometimes I sat in meetings and I didn’t know whether I don’t understand my colleagues because my English is so bad or because they were using jargon I didn’t know. I didn’t know when it was OK to ask what the word means and when it was better to stay silent and look it up in a dictionary later. I couldn’t admit that there were words in English they considered common and yet, I didn’t know them. I only started learning English at the university so there were many “basic” words I didn’t know. I was also junior in my profession and needed to come across as profes-

sional as possible in order to keep the job. I also think that most people subconsciously consider one’s ability to speak a language as a sign of intelligence. If you don’t speak well it means you’re not smart enough. Particularly those people who don’t speak any foreign language themselves and therefore don’t know how hard it is, which can be very judgemental. When did you start to feel confident with your English and the accent?

I don’t remember, it just happened. Maybe 3 or 4 years after I came to London. Being a consultant, I work on different projects for different clients. Over the years, I worked all over the British Isles. I worked

here during a formal session. The Poles created their own induction pack for new team members and it included a script used by the local Tesco check-out staff. It said: “When you go shopping, this is what happens. At the check-out, the shop assistant will say “Hi, how are you today?” and you say “Good, thank you”. Then she says “Do you need any help with packing”, and you say “No thank you”. Next she says “Do you have a Tesco clubcard”, and you say “No I don’t”, to which she responds “Do you want one, it’s free’” ... and it went on like this. The staff spoke with such a strong Scottish accent that none of the Poles could understand them so they created a transcript for their new colleagues to help them out. The

Using a language is a skill. It needs to be practised. I know people who have studied English academically for years, they are passionate about the history and etymology of the language but when it comes to speaking, they speak like a five-year old in Yorkshire, in the south of England, in Scotland, in Ireland as well as in London. And although it is one country, people here speak different versions and variations of English. In my experience, they are all proud of it and mostly keen to explain the differences to a “lost” foreigner. I worked on a project in Halifax and had a young American graduate in the team. Three weeks after he started on the project, he came to me and asked me whether I understood the people in the shops – because he didn’t. I did understand them, coincidentally, so I just said: “Sure, ask me any time, I’m a foreigner.” The Scottish bank that I worked for signed a contract with an IT company from Poland so we had a team of Polish IT specialists on site. Any time a new person joins a team, they are so called “inducted” – told by their colleagues how things are done

language and the culture goes hand in hand and that’s what makes it interesting. What has been the impact of language in your search to find a job?

As I said, I came to the UK in May 2000. When I looked for a new job in 2002, people were hostile. I don’t remember how many times I was told to go home and find a job there. It is better now because I am more senior, have more to offer to companies and have more contacts in the UK. I suspect with the rise of UKIP and the increased focus on immigration, it may get worse again. I open my mouth and people immediately know that I am foreign. Although it does happen occasionally that a native speaker thinks I am a native speaker too, but they are usually not English. They may be Australian or Irish and believe I come from a part of the world where English is spoken too.


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Tia Benkhedidja is 37, from Turkey and has lived in the UK for over 17 years. She has two daughters aged 16 and 14. Tia works as case worker at a charity in London

Tia Benkhedidja Love is the best way to learn a new language You have been in the UK for a long time now but the accent is always different for those who are not native. What do you think of your accent?

My accent is part of my identity as it relates to a fraction of my history. I used to be very self-conscious of it in my early years in London. However I am very comfortable with it now, I very much like it and wouldn’t want to get rid of it. When I first interact with people, they tend to be taken aback by my accent. They either assume that I am mixed-race, so expect me to sound British, or South American and anticipate a Spanish accent. As soon as I speak, a veil of utter confusion covers their face, it always

makes me smile. They then ask me where I am from which tends to confuse them further. I reply “French-Algerian” and they echo back “Nigerian, really?!”…. I said Algerian damn it! Confusion turns into disbelief and I have to educate them geographically “Algeria is in North Africa, and since Sudan’s division into two states, Algeria has become the largest African country”. Naturally the conversation doesn’t end there. “So people in Algeria are black and your mum is French right?!”………WRONG! “My parents are both Algerian and I am French, born and bred a French citizen of Algerian descent. People of Algeria come in all colours and shapes, like

the United Colours of Benetton”. In the late 90s and early 2000s I used to mention the legendary footballer Zinedine Zidane as a point of reference, not so much nowadays. I have been asked before which part of the UK I was from as my interlocutor couldn’t locate my accent. I laughed loud and replied “The part that speaks French”. People don’t always identify my accent but as soon as I tell them that I am from France, they start hearing the French accent. Having an accent leads to interesting exchanges as we are gently coerced into providing personal information. I am a people’s person so I am not interested in superficial conversations.


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What is your story of learning English when you first arrived in London?

When I first arrived in London, I was highly confident with my language skills, as I have always done very well in English at school and university. Nonetheless the learning was mostly theoretical and seldom practiced. I was highly surprised by the speed at which the natives spoke, making it challenging for a foreigner to understand and I was also faced with numerous accents, I still struggle with understanding the Scottish accent sometimes. The fall from the French educational pedestal was quite painful. I thought in French and interpreted my thoughts in English before speaking, hence the grammatical rules were not always applied and it didn’t come naturally. I had met two French girls and used to socialise mainly with them. I realised that it would hinder my progress in English and consequently I told them adieu and started hanging around with some Brits. I instructed the latter to interrupt me if I used a word in the wrong context or to correct my linguistic errors and mispronunciations. My English improved greatly when I got romantically involved with a British guy, he would often correct me and taught me colloquial English. I also read a great deal which was significantly beneficial in terms of expanding my vocabulary and getting further acquainted with the English grammar. Clearly reading doesn’t help much with the pronunciation, yet it’s nonetheless essential. When did you start to feel confident with your English and the accent?

Within six months of my arrival in the UK, I was dreaming and thinking in English. By then all my friends were natives, hence I rarely spoke my mother tongue, and it required much less effort to speak English. As a French person that had just arrived in the UK, I used to call a coke, a cock and of course people were not thinking of the bird but rather the birds and the bees. Can you imagine the reaction of the bartender when I ordered a coke?! That was pretty embarrassing! I was fluent within a year of living in London although I still mispronounced some words and I can confidently say that I will never speak like a native.

Until a few years ago, I was still pronouncing vegetables, ve-ge-tables. I only started feeling confident with my accent after being constantly complimented on it. In the UK, French is synonymous with sophistication and sexiness hence it plays to my advantage. Ironically when the French accent is too strong, it’s ridiculed and is associated with idiocy and slow-wittedness. Thankfully I’ve never had a distinctive French accent. What has been the impact of language in your search to find a job?

Speaking another language is a great advantage in the labour market but I scarcely made use of it. I worked as a French inter-

the case until two years ago. Prior to this period, I had only one French-speaking close friend that I met seven years ago in university. Immerse yourself in the British society and culture, as they say: when in Rome do as the Romans do. I don’t go to the pub after work, I actually don’t like pubs and prefer wine bars. I am not familiar with binge drinking, I don’t drink beer (not ladylike, as a French woman a glass of wine is a requisite) or watch EastEnders (although I shamefully confess that I did watch this TV programme for a while). Read in English and watch films or TV programmes in English (with subtitles initially). When I go to my local off-licence store, the owner and staff members either

Language has never prevented nor enabled me to secure a job except evidently the aforementioned role. My written English doesn’t indicate in any way that I am not a native. I rarely mention that I am French in my application forms preter for a few months over a decade ago, and that was the only job that required the speaking of both languages. I interpreted mostly for immigration purposes, my clients were not native French speakers and could hardly understand me and vice & versa. Language has never prevented nor enabled me to secure a job except evidently the aforementioned role. My written English doesn’t indicate in any way that I am not a native. I rarely mention that I am French in my application forms, hence the employer is none the wiser until I get to the interview stage. Can you give some tips and advice for those who want to improve their English?

First and foremost stay as far away from your community as possible, it seems radical but it’s necessary. Now many of my friends are French speakers but that wasn’t

read Turkish newspapers or watch Turkish TV channels. They do not speak English fluently in spite of being British citizens and having been in the country for over two decades. They remind me of my grandmother who has lived in France for four decades and can barely speak the language as she remained within her community. I am not anti-communitarianism, however London is such a melting pot that restricting yourself to your community is not only ludicrous but a missed opportunity to enrich your life. Last but not least, get yourself a native boyfriend or girlfriend, whatever rocks your boat. Love is not only a universal language but love is actually the best way to learn a new language. I am actually hoping that my next love conquest will be Hispanic as Spanish is my favourite language and I would love to speak it fluently.


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

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business

MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

Turning a business idea into

action

We live in a time where we all look for opportunities. Some are happy with the job they have, some others look to change careers, and some prefer to take an adventure with a business idea. We met three women who told us about their ideas, vision and their desire to succeed. It seems that they know what they want to get out of the business. They know what they like to do, what they are good at doing and what are their limitations. They have learned a lot. If you are struggling with deciding on the right business idea, if you want to be sure what type of business you want to start maybe these stories will help you. Nerea, Clare and Annell answered our questions: What is your business idea? What is your vision for the future of this business? What would you stop to be successful? By Lela Struga

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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Nerea San Jose Listen2ÂŁEarn

Business idea

I was born in The Basque Country (Spain). When I came to London many years ago I was already a highly qualified teacher. I had worked in the education sector for several years. I was still breastfeeding when getting divorced, and tried a hypnotherapy session for insomnia. It worked wonders! So a few years later I decided to train as a clinical hypnotherapist and a Master practitioner of NLP. In the last nine years I have been helping people with my therapeutic skills and it is very rewarding when your client leaves your therapy room achieving their goals. I would now like to take my skills further and work in corporate training as a personal development facilitator. I am interested in helping people improve their listening skills in the corporate world. Companies lose a lot of money from human error and the great majority of these errors are due to a misunderstanding in receiving and interpreting the verbal message. Vision

I am aware that there is a lack of knowledge on how to listen to others at work as much as at home and also, how difficult it is to stay attentive while listening for long periods of time. Distractions are all around us! I do believe that I can improve the revenue in companies by cutting down on errors caused by poor listening skills and a confusing way of presenting instructions or requests to others. Good listening skills will help anyone in their social and family life as well. This business idea and my training Listen2ÂŁEarn, will help me to achieve

Distractions are all around us! I do believe that I can improve the revenue in companies by cutting down on errors caused by poor listening skills and a confusing way of presenting instructions or requests to others. Good listening skills will help anyone in their social and family life as well. what I really want. I would love to work in different countries on a shortterm basis, which would allow me to come back to the UK for family reasons as long as I need. In my opinion, this business idea will help me to get the balance right between work, travelling and family.


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Limitation

The idea of training Spanish and English companies is a challenge for me as both cultures respond to training in a different manner. The expectations are different and the way you present the material needs to be adjusted to the age and interest of the audience, but I

am convinced I will get it right fairly quickly thanks to the audience feedback and understanding. My business idea could flounder if companies failed to give me the opportunity to show them the benefits of my corporate coaching; if this were the case, I would just need to speak louder! At the moment, my

goal is to work in a sunny country while London enjoys its winter, and the other way round; London will enjoy my company in the autumn when its beauty is displayed in the colours of the trees. www.ahypnoticsolution.com Www.ahypnoticsolution.com


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MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Clare Newton

Newton’s Heritage Art Project Creative Social Entrepreneur Business idea

To create a Remembrance Structure and place it in a public place for all those who have lost their loved ones in the River Thames. Through a series of exciting fundraising events, that provides interesting learning platforms for a wide range of people and children to get involved in. “I think it is very important to become self- sufficient in our overstretched capital, to make a charitable project successful” says Clare Newton. The first initiatives are the two Heart Centred Conferences, for SMEs and entrepreneurs to learn from the wisdom of others, to make better decisions for their business. Vision

My vision is to create proactive community supportive projects, some of which provide a form of legacy. And to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve the impossible. It is a very tough world in London with a great many people offering their unique business proposition. Limitations

I am not sure what I would “stop” in order to be successful, as I am too busy trying to find out what makes a business successful! Maybe a helpful thought for the day is; don’t believe you have the wrong thing just because a few people say it is wrong – that’s because they are relating their world of expertise. Persevere but allow your idea to be flexible and adaptable and from that accumulated knowledge you will ultimately know whether it’s right or wrong. http://thamesmemorial.wix.com/fund http//heartbiz.wix.com/conference


business

MIGRANTWOMAN.COM

Annell Smith Justice. Ideas. Action! Business idea

As Director and founder of Social Justice Innovations (SJI) I welcome the opportunity that consultancy brings to blend my solid technical expertise, academic skills and creativity in supporting social mobility goals, by applying diverse methods to a range of professional contexts. I am enthused by the prospect of building sustainable solutions and seek strategies that embody empowerment, opportunity and autonomy for social justice beneficiaries. SJI is a business that allows organisations and professionals in any sector to access support in developing and delivering social objectives. The core areas of expertise covered are criminal justice, employability and women’s development. Fair Trade project ideation is featured as a specialist service, in recognition of the untapped potential within this sector that can be leveraged to create legitimate markets for the disadvantaged. Vision

I have great ambitions for SJI and am keen to establish the company as a recognised brand that can be applied flexibly to all sectors, to raise standards in social justice and promote excellence in ethical business delivery. Collaboration; Expansion; Diversification. These are the nouns that best capture my future vision for SJI. In addition to achieving internal growth by identifying complementary associates, I also seek to work with contractors to secure and deliver projects with cross cutting themes, to a high standard. Becoming more closely aligned

with the International Development sector and being able to influence the global reach of the underpinning of thematic strategy is one of my key goals for SJI. It is with a view towards opening the doors to change that are too often obstructed by insular ideologies, social segregation and fear. Through consistent engagement with policy makers and implementers and a commitment to advocacy on social justice themes, SJI will work wisely to attract the right allies and maintain integrity. Limitation

Failing to nurture faith and losing sight of the vision are the key risks that I am resolved to avoid at all costs in order to ensure the SJI’s success. The vision must always be bigger than the founder, and passion will be fuelled by staying connected with the fundamental needs that this business was designed to solve.

I have great ambitions for SJI and am keen to establish the company as a recognised brand that can be applied flexibly to all sectors, to raise standards in social justice and promote excellence in ethical business delivery

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Business? How Can You Thrive in By Sarah Alexander

As a migrant woman setting up a new life here in the UK, I am sure you have heard the advice to “follow your passions” and “your sense of purpose” and set up your own small business. This business may have at its heart a desire to serve others, as well as allow you to feel a sense of fulfilment from the work that you are doing. You may have been told that if you follow your heart, abundance and all good things will flow to you. Yet, for many, that is often not the case. What you experience in contrast, is that it is hard to thrive running such a business here in the UK, despite the positive intentions behind your ideas. Looking at the reasons of why it is hard to thrive:

T

hriving in business starts with your personal definition of thriving. For some, it is purely monetary gain, financial wealth and being perceived as a success in the world. For others, it includes definitions such as expressing the truth of who they are through their work and all that they pursue; balancing time spent ‘doing’ their business projects and time spent ‘being’ in their business, allowing their creative minds to generate new ideas on the way forward; enjoying positive relationships with all of their clients, suppliers and competitors, and having a genuine desire to serve them all; feeling a sense of energy, vitality, happiness and fulfilment from their work and running all aspects of their business being guided by their intuitive nature. To achieve all of these definitions of thriving requires two things of us. Firstly our willingness to make an inner connection with ourselves, and secondly, to make a conscious connection with our True Self in all that we do. Our True Self is the highest and best in us and is connected to the Highest Mind and Intelligence of all, our Spiritual Intelligence. Some may call this source of Intelligence the Christ Mind, the Buddha mind, the mind of Mohammed or Krishna, or the mind of your Higher Self.

When we take the time to access this intelligence, we can receive creative ideas and inspiration for all aspects of our business. These ideas come from beyond the bounds of our own limited thinking and intellect. This intelligence wants us to thrive, to be happy and fulfilled and wants to support us in our success. This intelligence knows the Truth of who we are, all of our talents, gifts and skills and all that we are here to be, to do and to have. This source of intelligence that can also see a far bigger picture of our lives, and the lives of all those others we are to connect with on our journey through life. In my book ‘Spiritual Intelligence in leadership: From Manager to Leader in Your Own Life’, I describe connecting to this intelligence in this way: To connect with this intelligence and be the leader in your life or the leader in any capacity, actually requires only one thing: that you are able at any given moment to shift out of the thinking of the mind, regardless of what you are doing, and into that place of stillness and awareness that can be found within. This stillness has to be accessed through the vehicle of the present moment, so that you enter into a moment-to-moment awareness of yourself, your inner essence and what is happening for you right now. This stillness becomes the backdrop for all that you do in your life. From here


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your thoughts take on a new quality, a higher, purer vibration, and, in turn, so does your life and your lived experiences as you create your life from this powerful place. The starting point for thriving in business is always making clear the intention to do so. From there, have a clear understanding of what thriving is for you and how you personally define it. Once you have that clarity and intention, allow your own Spiritual Intelligence to guide you from within, to that place of thriving. Here are four areas for consideration:

01

Acknowledge that your business will challenge you to grow in those areas where your personality is less developed. For me, being visible has always been a challenge, as I embraced being in-

visible as a result of my childhood experiences. And to thrive, I have to focus on my personal and business visibility. Often this takes me out of my comfort zone and puts me in situations where I have to go beyond the self-images of my ego. When I do this, I gain benefits both in terms of new clients and the feelings of satisfaction from breaking my own personal barriers and limitations.

02

Ensure that you act in alignment with your business message in all aspects of your life. For me, this means using Spiritual Intelligence to guide every aspect of my life. It means taking the time to meditate, to be still, to listen to my inner guidance, to be present in all that I do, to come from a place of love and kindness in my interactions and where I am

unable to, to forgive both myself and others. What I experience is that the more I consciously work with my Spiritual Intelligence, the easier life becomes. I do still experience challenges, and I am able to move through them with a clear understanding of what the lesson is for me to learn.

03

Be willing to ask your Spiritual Intelligence what it would like you to create, to express and to experience through your business. We have all been taught to set goals and aspirations that are in alignment with our own wants and desires, and we rarely stop to consider what the Higher Intelligence would want us to manifest. Contemplate these questions and see what answers you receive, recognising that your inner intelligence has your thriving at heart. Once we have received specific guidance, we then have to take the action we are guided to and also recognise that our knowledge and experience of practically running a business must, too, come into play.

04 Sarah Alexander runs 8 week transformational programmes for business owners worldwide and uses Spiritual Intelligence to help them to make the most of their life’s work. She is the author of ‘Spiritual Intelligence in Business: The Eight Pillars of 21st Century Business Success’ and ‘Spiritual intelligence in Leadership: From Manager to Leader in Your Own Life’.

Know that your capacity to thrive effortlessly comes from your connection to your True Self. As you embrace the thinking of your True Self, you will know that you are the abundance your desire, you are the prosperity you wish to manifest, and you are the wealth that you wish to receive. Your True Self is not dependent on the things of this world such as the money coming into your bank account to feel abundant, prosperous or wealthy. Your True Self knows that abundance and thriving, in all its forms, are already within you. To conclude, when we make the choice to thrive in business in the UK, we do it easily and effortlessly through a conscious connection within. As we do this, we are guided to take actions in the world from a superior Intelligence to our own. The more we can trust this guidance, and combine it with our existing knowledge to take us to the destination that is truly meant for us, the easier it is for us to thrive in business in all aspects of the word.


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self Mersida Camdzic came to the picturesque city of Carlisle in Central Pennsylvania in USA in June 1999, leaving behind a life she had built with her husband and her children in Bosnia. At that time, war ravaged her homeland and moving far from it was her only option to keep her family safe. The family chose the United States as their destination because they had learned that it was easy to find a job and they had family members here that could provide initial support to settle

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

An Afternoon with

Mersida By Marita Nika Flagler

I

first became acquainted with Mersida in 2007 when, in my search for good feta cheese, discovered her small store on Hanover street, Mersida’s Market: European Food Store, as as a small gem proudly displaying ethnic food from the Balkans, from feta cheese, to tarhana, ajvar, pickled okra, lokum, turkish delight, kadaif, pekmez, chevapi and others. The store has a small porch in front. Between May and November, it is furnished with outdoor wicker seats with nice cushions and filled with various flower pots in full bloom. There Mersida serves coffee Bosnian way: on a tray, in a coffee pot with espresso cups. She brings two cups when the client is alone; she explains to the bewildered non-Bosnian clients that it

is an old Bosnian custom: one never knows who might drop by. Her store has become a center for the small Bosnian community of the Carlisle area that consists of about 200 people. Not only do the people find grocery items from their home country at Mersida’s, but they

also get a chance to exchange news ( Mersida insists that it isn’t gossiping since gossiping is a sin in her religion) and keep in touch with each other. Another added value of the store is that Mersida has become a point of reference to the Bosnian community for other people. Several years ago, when


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I was teaching a class in the international studies program in my university and I needed a guest speaker to talk about the war atrocities in Bosnia, I turned to her. And I was not alone. Students and faculty from Dickinson University in Carlisle asked her for help with translation for their project Clothesline: Bosnia-Herzogovina, and, later, they even made a film called: A Conversation with Mersida, where she shared her feelings on the war. The YouTube clip at http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=1G0PIRILb5M is an emotional recount of her harrowing experiences. When I met with her on a busy Tuesday afternoon, we did not talk about the past: we focused on the present. As we chatted while she served several customers and I sipped a delicious bottle of yogurt drink at her counter, her story unfolded: a narrative filled with love, hard work and witty observations about life as an immigrant woman who has found her place in a new country by remaining true to herself and her values. Hers is not an uncommon story, and I am sharing what I learned from from her with the readers of this magazine in the hope that it will resonate with you. On Her Family

Mersida has been married for 26 years. She has two children who she truly adores; a son who is 24 years old and a daughter who is 18. Her son is a truck driver; they encouraged him to go to college, but he preferred

otherwise. Her daughter has just graduated from high school and will leave home soon to study nursing in the Bradford campus of Pittsburgh University. Mersida is a little worried because her daughter will leave home, but feels that she will be OK. Her son was in a bad motorcycle accident less than a month

tle with a nice Bosnian girl. But the young American woman visited his son every day and even arranged for him to be transported in a wheelchair and get a haircut in the salon where she works. That changed Mr. Camdzic’s feeling. Now he approves of the girl! Mersida explained that what had oc-

Her store has become a center for the small Bosnian community of theCarlisle area that consists of about 200 people. Not only do the people find grocery items from their home country at Mersida’s, but they also get a chance to exchange news and keep in touch with each other ago and that was very scary. He has always been a dare devil: he loves to skateboard and jump, but this was bad. He was in hospital for weeks. Here the story gets interesting. He has an American girlfriend. Prior to the accident, his father was not accepting of the relationship, he would rather like his son to set-

curred resembled a movie: when something bad happens, people change their minds. A traumatic event had helped Mr. Camdzic see beyond his stereotypes! Mersida’s insightful and quirky reflection indicates that she is open and accepting of people for what they are.

Adjusting to a New Country

Mersida

did not know any English when she first landed in the United States and she recognized the lack of language as one of the most significant hurdles during the first year. But she was open to interacting with the Americans she worked with, and she picked up the language fast. She had two cultural shocks. The first one was washing her clothes at the Laundromat: sharing a washing machine with other people was inconceivable to a good Bosnian housewife who would boil her linen in her home country. The second culture shock was related to the relations with neighbors who were polite but not friendly. She did not receive any invitations for coffee as she used to in her home country. (Now she loves the fact that the neighbors are not nosy!) Those were her feelings during the first months as an immi-

grant when she still longed for the place she had left behind. Soon, she became involved in the life of Carlisle and was busy accompanying her children to extracurricular activities, the library and doctors’ visits and in the process she became part of the new community. She does not mind meeting new people and interacting with them. She feels that that people respect her; she does not sense that anybody treats her as a second class citizen. That really matters to Mersida, that awareness of belonging feeds her desire to give back to the community. She is happy in her adopted country; life is good and rewarding for her here. Mersida believes that, generally, women adapt better than men to the new surroundings, new customs, new language and new relationships because they embrace challenges and are not afraid to undertake risks. I think she is right: she certainly is a great example.


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On Herself

When she first came to the Unites States, Mersida started work in a nursing home, where she was encouraged to attend community college in a city nearby and get an associate degree. She turned down the offer because she believed that as her children were settling in a new country, they needed her to provide all-round support. She could not gain a career and lose her children! She was worried that they would get into drugs and drinking and she focused all her energy in creating a family environment that was warm, understanding, reassuring and encouraging. She and her husband worked in opposite shifts to make sure that one of them was there with the children at all times. She is very happy that she made this choice and put her family and children above her own career interests. After all, her children have grown into responsible adults with minimum growing pains. She loves her new home and her garden, where she has planted five fig trees (which are very difficult to grow in this climate) and has a nice pergola covered in grapevines, a picture of which she proudly showed to me in her phone. Both the figs and the grapes are rather unusual in this corner of the world, but it seems that Mersida has added a touch of Bosnia to her American abode.

She decided to start her own business encouraged by people who liked her cooking and the Bosnian community that needed a store to purchase the food items they missed. She has been successful so far not only due to her hard work but also to her welcoming personality. I was surprised to see her

was home in the morning to prepare breakfast and she was home at dinner-time: she was always available to her family, and that mattered to her. Smilingly, she noted that she was her own boss, and that she really enjoyed what she was doing. When one enjoys what she does, that is not work. Reflecting, Mersida noted that she really enjoyed everything she did: she also enjoyed cooking and cleaning and especially gardening. So, she never worked! On Her Future

work hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am till 6:00pm (that would be a total of 48 hours per week!). When I asked her about it, she explained that her home life and her work overlapped and she really did not feel that she was working that much. She

Mersida is really happy where she is; she does not have any plans for the future. She has been encouraged to expand her business and maybe open a restaurant with Bosnian food, but she is really reluctant to do that: it requires too much work. She would not mind small improvements in her existing store but is opposed to a life-style where work becomes consuming and “ it is all about rush, rush, rush” and “ business, business, business.” In five years she would love to have grandkids and enjoy them, do more gardening and travel. Her life is good as it is, why spoil it. As she smiles, it is easy to see how she takes things in stride, one day at a time and savors every moment, not concerned with her future since she has build a solid foundation in the present.

helping women through the law Rights of Women are seeking women lawyers in London with an expertise in immigration and/or asylum to volunteer on our free legal advice helpline. Our vital advice service provides legal support to 1000’s of women across England and Wales, and recent cuts to legal aid mean our services are more crucial than ever. All advisers must be qualified solicitors or barristers and have a full practising certificate. Telephone advice line skills training will be provided. We ask that you are available for one 2 hour session per month for a minimum of 12 months. Our current immigration advice sessions are Monday 11 am-1pmand Wednesday 2-4pm, however in order to offer greater flexibility we are also looking to offer evening sessions which would

take place between 7pm and 9pm on weekdays. If volunteering during an evening session is your preference, please indicate this on your application, stating which evenings you are available. If you are interested in becoming part of the Rights of Women team, download an application pack at www.rightsofwomen.org.uk. For more information contact Amy on 020 7251 6575 or by email atamy@row.org.uk. You can find out more information about our work on our website, and also join our Women’s Migration and Asylum Network where you can obtain advice, share information with other professionals and access free training events. We look forward to hearing from you!


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promotional interview

Catherine Maclay

Migrants should seek independent professional legal advice

C

atherine Maclay has spent the past five years working for Platt & Associates in the UK as a Senior Immigration Consultant, during which time she has also had managerial and Staff Partner roles. Her special field of interest is women’s business development immigration options. Catherine is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to Level 3, to practice UK immigration law. She is also an active member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA). Catherine won the UK Immigration Advisor of the Year Award 2013 at The High-Value Immigration Awards in London, through nominations by her lady entrepreneur clients. We talked with Catherine to learn more about her job at Platt Associates and how migrant women can benefit from their services.

You have been working for a long time as a solicitor dealing with immigration issues. What are the main concerns that your clients bring to you? Firstly, Platt & Associates is a firm of United Kingdom immigration, nationality and work permit consultants which is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to provide immigration advice and assistance. While we practise immigration law at Platt & Associates, the firm is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) so we are not solicitors. The main concern of clients has been their frustration with and uncertainty about the high volume of recent rule changes.

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promotional interview

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

These have often left them confused and, in some instances, unable to achieve what they initially set out to do in their studies and careers or to continue their family life in the UK. They are also concerned about the strict specified documentary evidence requirements for visa applications, which may sometimes be the only barrier to them obtaining a visa, where they otherwise meet the requirements in the immigration rules. The costly visa application fees have also become a concern for visa applicants in a tough economic climate, when they need to meet other financial obligations for themselves and their families. What is your experience of working with migrant women? How do you help them to deal with their problems in a new country?

I’ve had a very good experience working with migrant women in their immigration matters across a range of areas, from business migration to family migration and in nationality matters. Women across the world are becoming more aware not only of their rights but also of their opportunities. They are increasingly actively pursuing their dreams and aspirations not only for themselves but also for their children and future generations of their families. Women are now also increasingly prepared to leave their country of origin to travel to different countries, to further their education, to pursue their livelihoods and ambitions, and to set up home in a different culture and environment. All of which has an impact on countries, cultures and economies across the world. The problems facing migrant women in Catherine’s background the UK are very varied and depend on their unique Catherine was born in South Africa, of British ancestry. She attended Roedean personal circumstances. We try to assist migrant School (S.A.) for girls in Johannesburg, South Africa and undertook some women to manage their immigration matters effecinternational vocational training before attending University in Cape Town, South tively and efficiently over time. Africa. Catherine graduated with a Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSci) degree When women come to the UK as foreign stuand a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Cape Town, and a dents, they are generally supported by their school, Master of Laws (LLM) degree in International Commercial Law from the University university or college, when choosing and following of Johannesburg, prior to practising as an attorney in South Africa. a course of study. Their sponsoring educational institution will also assist them with applying for student visas. This level of support is good at the start of a course or degree work out as they had hoped. They also often misjudge the amount of programme, but as the years go by the level of support from the spontime they’ll need to adjust their plans and business arrangements, to sor may become less ‘hands on’. This is where foreign students may find keep their careers and immigration matters aligned and on track. themselves in difficulty, either in their course or in their immigration Many years ago a female philosopher called Mary Wollstonecraft matters. Foreign students need to be prepared for the consequences (1759-1797) was of the considered opinion that true friendship was the and costs of having to re-write exams or re-take courses, because they purpose and the reward of marriage. Some women in long-term relamay not be able to extend their student visa beyond a certain period of tionships do not know this as their reality and, occasionally, migrant time in the UK, to complete their qualifications. women may find themselves not only suffering from dashed hopes and On a business migration level, migrant women may have an initial broken hearts but also from abuse and mistreatment by their partners. idea for starting their own business, or they may have a certain job ofOn the family migration front, migrant women may find that they fer to work for a particular employer in the country, but they have not have practical and legal difficulties applying for a partner or parent considered thoroughly what they will do, if these initial plans do not visa. Where they have been granted family migration visas, migrant


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women who find themselves in difficulty in their relationships, through relationship breakdown, domestic violence or bereavement, often do not know where and how to seek help in their family and immigration matters. They should seek properly regulated independent professional legal advice about their options in these circumstances, as early as possible. What are the main mistakes that migrants make related to their status when they come to seek help from you? Can you give any examples?

Migrants can sometimes wait too long before they seek independent professional advice in their immigration matters and unique personal circumstances. Where they eventually seek help at the last minute there may be limited, if any, solutions available to regularise their immigration status by then. What are the most important things that migrants should learn when they arrive in this country related to the law?

Before arriving in the UK, migrants should research the country and culture thoroughly on the internet, through speaking with people who have lived here previously, including British expatriates, and also through contacting British Consulates and Embassies around the world, so that they have a good basic understanding of the country’s make-up and its laws. When they are in the UK they should visit organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, for free and confidential advice. Organisations like Relate deal with specific areas of advice such as counselling, support and information for all relationships. Migrants should seek independent professional legal advice in their

matters to get to know the law that is applicable specifically to them and their lives. In your opinion why does the word ‘Migrant’ have a negative connotation with some people?

Indigenous communities may fear the loss of their job opportunities or family members to migrants which could give rise to a negative connotation to the word ‘Migrant’. Migrants themselves may resent having to leave their country of origin to make a new life in a strange land which could lead to them associating a negative connotation with the word ‘Migrant’. What services do you offer for migrant women?

Platt & Associates does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. We therefore advise and assist all those who come to us with their immigration matters and problems across the breadth of visa applications in the UK or abroad for business migration, family migration, European migration, student visas, sponsor licences, nationality matters and appeals and reviews. We also deal with complex immigration matters including human rights and asylum issues. Women migrants in particular often require immigration assistance where they have encountered difficulties in their relationships, or their careers and business ideas have not gone to plan. We also assist the children and grandchildren of migrant women, to regularise their immigration status to secure a brighter future for them. One of the main reasons why migrant women seek immigration and nationality advice and assistance for themselves, is because they ultimately want to look after their families better.

www.plattassociates.co.uk

YOUR IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS ARE IMPORTANT; LET THE EXPERTS HANDLE THEM FOR YOU. Tier 1 Entrepreneurs and Investors Tier 2 Work Permits Tier 4 Student Visas Marriage Visas and Dependant Relatives Employer Sponsor Licences

Permanent Residency British Citizenship EEA Cases Domestic Violence Cases Human Rights and Asylum

Platt & Associates is an established, reliable and experienced law firm providing unrivalled expertise in United Kingdom immigration and work permit matters. We have over 30 years’ experience in this field, much of it working in the UK Border Agency, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and in private legal practice.

020 7953 8504

Platt & Associates, Suite 103, The Blackfriars Foundry, 156 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8EN


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interview

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Teresa Arnandis Chinesta

Contributing to the progress of humanity. What could be better?

O

riginally from Valencia, Spain, Dr Teresa Arnandis Chinesta graduated from the degree of Pharmacy and Optics, both awarded with First Class Honours at the University of Valencia. In 2010, she completed her Master’s study in Molecular Science and after four years of hard and intensive work, she successfully finished her International PhD in Biochemistry and Biomedicine. Being increasingly attracted to the field of breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis, she decided to move to London, joining the Molecular Oncology Department as a Postdoctorate Researcher at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University. Her current research is focused on understanding the role of subcellular organelles called centrosomes on tumour invasion with the goal of developing potential biomarkers and targets for the improvement of tailored cancer therapies. Outside the laboratory, Dr Teresa Arnandis mostly spends her time practising sports, travelling and having fun with friends and family. Passion and determination are the clues of her success.

You have invested much time and energy on your career - do you feel fulfilled?

Since I was a child I was always curious about life, about what it is hidden behind facts, why and how things happened, especially those that are too small or covered. My fascination about science continued during my educational process. For instance, I still remain completely astonished on when I first heard about how our body functions, how blood transports oxygen to cells or just the simple (but indeed complicated) fact of muscle contraction or nutrient absorption in the guts. When I finished my high school I was clear about my professional future, that I would like to be a scientist. Actually, I can say that it is one of the best choices I ever made, since I really enjoy my work. Every day is a mental challenge, you never stop learning new things and you can also contribute to the progress of the humanity. What could be better than this? I feel completely fulfilled because I have achieved all that I would ever dream. I am also on the way to becoming a professor, as I really enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge with the students. I have always admired those teachers who could make their subjects come alive and keep us focused. In my opinion, teaching is an art and great teachers are talented actors that should be given proper recognition, as the future of Science and Research is really in their hands. Furthermore, having friends and family that fully support your decisions also contribute of feeling fulfilled about your career. What is your drive that keeps you motivated to invest in your professional development?

Obtaining a better version of myself by


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For me success is working in a job which I am passionate about, while at the same time you are contributing to the progress of humanity. My idols are scientists or just normal people who are not afraid of testing new things and are able to induce a complete change in the way people live

trying to learn as much as possible is one of the clues that keep me motivated in my work. In addition, the fact that you can contribute to create and improve cancer treatments is enormously rewarding. Not just learning, but I do really love teaching. During my PhD, I realised that I really enjoyed the educational tasks of my job, which involved not just sharing your scientific knowledge about science matters, but also encouraging young people to participate and be passionately curious in science or research. In addition, one thing that I find also quite motivating is that in science, you sometimes don’t obtain what you expect and this is also a good lesson for life. The best thing of failing is learning about what went wrong and trying to solve it by other means. Indeed, progress is made from unsuccessful experiences. What would happen if Alexander Fleming hadn’t realised about his fungal contamination of his bacterial plates by accident and he would never have discovered penicillin? Staying positive and learning about adverse experiences is the only way to finally achieve success. On the other hand, if you really find what keeps you motivated you have to dare, going out of your comfort zone and start fighting for what you want. The enemy of life is not death or sadness, it is wastage. The better way to make the most out of life is to implement or launch your personal project, with the idea of doing something that fulfilled yourself. A good rule, which I always follow, is to set my sights on my personal goals, and avoid being led or misled by other’s expectations. As my mother used to say, If you choose a job that you really like, you don’t have to work anymore! What inspires you toward success?

It depends on what is your concept about success. For me success is working in a job which I am passionate about, while at the same time you are contributing to the progress of humanity. My idols are scientists or just normal people who are not afraid of testing new things and are able to induce a complete change in the way people live, making their lives easier, healthier or comfortable! From the anonymous invention of the wheel, to the new revolutionary social network created by Mark Zuckerberg, there have been millions of pioneer people that have contributed to achiev-

ing the standards of quality of life we know today. Thanks to all of them for their great achievements, but also because they have been the source of inspiration of many young and upcoming talents. In my opinion success is all up to you, under your deliberate and conscious control. Believe in yourself, be strong, never give up no matter what the circumstances are. Champions take failure as a learning opportunity, so take in all you can, and run with it. Be your best and don’t ever give up.

What have you found the most challenging aspect of your life?

Every day is a challenge and I cannot specify any particular moment. In science, everyday you have to give the best of yourself in order to obtain great results in the experiments, in meetings, in writing a proposal to receive funding, in guiding or teaching students, etc. As I get older, I think that one of the most challenging aspects would be to combine the professional with my personal life. Your work is actually based on understanding tumour invasion/progression of breast cancer. Can you tell us more about it?

My PhD project was focused on studying mammary gland from a physiological perspective. Particularly, I have tackled a challenging project based on understanding the role of a protease during mammary gland involution. During the last years of my PhD, I realised that I was mostly attracted by topics related to breast cancer pathology. Breast cancer is a complex set of diseases: every breast tumour contains several types of cancer cells with different characteristics, these being the root of why current therapies do not work for some patients. Understanding the fundamental biology of breast cancer has allowed researchers, to develop therapies that selectively kill cancer cells by attacking the molecules that make them malignant. Among these molecules I am currently working on understanding why cancer cells have more than two centrosomes (subcellular organelle involved in mitosis) and how this feature induces a more invasive malignant phenotype, in order to develop novel strategies or new biomarkers to treat breast cancer.


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the creativity blog

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

June is my indulgence month. It’s Graduate Show time and I am cool-hunting for trends and talent. I start with fashion... By Julia Goga-Cooke

Designers tell a story in different languages

Expression of

The Old Truman Brewery has been a fashionista’s edgy paradise for some years now. This year it hosts the Graduate Fashion Week. How many catwalks can I fit in? A lot actually. Five trends I couldn’t miss: volume, wide belts, half garments, age blur, genderless. From dresses to trousers to coats, from prints to knits, volume is blown sideways and all around to deliciousness; the coat belts are wide, half garments are in. I wonder why we need separate streams for womenswear and menswear. Young males look “lost”. What happened to grumpy old men - they’re all colourful and jovial.

My second stop is at Oxo Tower Wharf, on the London South Bank. Somewhere between the National Theatre and Tate Modern, the wharf is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars and design shops. I make my way through a narrow darkish passage that leads to an open courtyard. Ahead of me towers the Bargehouse, solid, imposing and raw. An industrial setting amidst the arts world. A big sign “Made in Brunel” invites me in. I was not prepared to find a ”grand design project”, a warehouse with torn ceiling plasters, ripped walls, wires, rust. Four floors of designs from more than 200 stu-

dents from Brunel University, famous for its engineers and industrial designers, and in 2013 it scored top for its Business School too. Pens that detect ingredients in food to alert the user about the allergy dangers, shoes that grow with the child, screwless glasses, systems to solve contamination problems due to most people not washing their hands properly, diagnosing concussion in rugby, recycling plastic for 3D printers, enabling education in Africa, bio-reactive tactile expiry label, multisensory learning toys, exoskeleton for older people… One strong theme through all of them: technol-


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ogy is changing the way we make things, and the things we make are shaping us too. I leave the Bargehouse thinking: what an inspired setting to host the Future of Making. I head towards another warehouse, the Granary. It once held Lincolnshire wheat for London bakers. Gloriously restored by Stanton Williams Architects, it is the gate to “the street”, Central Saint Martins new campus, with studios, theatres, workshops that connect with overhead walkways, where students, teachers and staff from different departments can meet, talk, bump and spark off. This year the Graphic Design Graduates - about 150 of them – culminated their studies with an exhibition and a conference. I am invited to open the conference and share thoughts on designing the future. Young, energetic, from all over the world, they will soon enter the world of work, a journey that for most will be at least 50 years. They find that exciting and daunting in equal measure. We talk about sense making, design mindset, collaborating across disciplines, cultures, time zones and age. We talk about hard work and ap-

plication, failing and learning, passion and meaning. When we think Design, we often identify it with the beautiful element that touches and delights us. But as these graduates tell the design story, you can’t fail to see that there is a lot more in design than what catches the eye. Designers are trained to spot problems, and design solutions. They are trained to tell a story in different languages of expression, they are trained to create experiences that delight, engage and involve. And going through the exhibitions, you get the feeling that they care too. And through their designs they dare to tackle some of the big problems the world is facing, like gun control, caring for the elderly in China, identity and belonging, environment awareness, human rights, war traumas and many more. I end my journey filled with inspiration by the talent I’ve seen. For the students, the search for jobs starts tomorrow. Some will get employed. Very few will start their own business. A fact I heard at Made in Brunel stayed with me. Only 0.7% of the graduates start their own business. It hits you if you

compare this with more than 50% of the MIT graduates in the US. Yes, they put a lot more emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, have more incubation facilities, and more Makeries that combine craft and technology. Is that all? Endnote. I arrive home to find a message from my friend, Jim, form TechShop in San Jose. “Julia, it’s America’s national day of making. President Obama is hosting a Makers Fair. Do make something today or mentor somebody too! ”

DESIGN THINKING INNOVATION WORKSHOP Every day we are faced with challenges, big and small that need solutions. How can we combine our analytical power with our creative originality to come up with innovative solutions every time? What processes and tools can you use to bring innovation on? In this fast paced, hands on, experiential workshop, you will learn the Design Thinking process by tackling a real challenge. Get on a journey that leads you from challenges to understanding, framing problems, drawing insights, spotting opportunities, coming up with ideas beyond the obvious, and creating prototypes in order to test your solutions.

The knowledge, skills and tools you take away from this workshop, are applicable to any field and subject. Chose the tools that you would like to use and get ready to draft your action plan on how you tackle your next challenge. For readers of Migrant Woman we apply a special ticket rate of £50 per person. Contact: Julia@gconsultancy.org - www.gconsultancy.org


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spirituality

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Women are more in touch with their intuition Franco Cruzat is an intuitive coach and psychic. With the use of his intuition, many years of experience and connection to his Spirit Guides, Franco gives you the information that is necessary to break through the blocks that are affecting your life, helps to understand what you want to achieve, and to see a clear path to achieving it. We met Franco to talk about intuitive life coaching, and to understand how he helps his clients to change their lives By Elena Chaykina

What exactly is intuitive life coaching? Is it different from other life coaching and self-development techniques?

Intuitive life coaching is a holistic approach to coaching which looks at the whole individual on a mental, emotional and physical level. I use combination of coaching and personal development techniques, and help and guidance of my spirit guides, to help you to create the life that you want, and to identify issues that currently affect your ability to do it. To help you to change your life in any particular way, we will look together into what you are trying to achieve. We will see how you are looking at change from perspectives of your beliefs, attitudes and understandings on an energetic level. We look at limiting beliefs, attitudes, negative emotions, and then look at how to change the patterns that keep you locked in particular modes of behaviour. We then formulate a clear path to achieving it, and will gradually introduce a number of techniques to help you on your path, including a variety of guided visualisations and meditation techniques that form an intricate part of all the work that I do. This is a collaborative process and re-

quires the client to connect with their own intuition too. In your feelings lies the path to your achievements, in your intention and the manner of it lies the determination to achieve, and in your practice and honesty lies the way to do so. What is your experience and background in coaching and spiritual development? How did your journey begin?

My journey began more than 20 years ago with the study of Tai Chi, Qigong and Yoga. Through practising them I developed my abilities as a psychic. I became a Tarot reader, palm reader, astrologer, rune reader, past life reader, clairvoyant and lastly a Medium. I worked as a psychic online and offline, running and managing an international line. Together with my colleagues, we created a number of personal development programmes that look at peoples’ thoughts and belief structures, to see how they affect the peoples’ lives in an either empowering or disempowering way. I used to run workshops and talks on all of the above. This work eventually led me to also learning counselling and life coaching practices. The final, and by far the most interest-

ing part of my journey, was consciously connecting with my Spirits Guides and becoming a channel for them to work through. My Intuitive Coaching practice developed from that, and it incorporates all of the above with the guidance of my Spirits Guides. And it is my experience which is my most valuable asset. After 20 years of practising and thousands of clients, I have developed a unique way of connecting with peoples’ energy field and aura. With the aid of my guides, I got the ability to see deeply into the person I am working with. My intuition and my guides open the best way to enable people to access their own personal power, sometimes healing, sometimes overcoming, sometimes understanding, sometimes just growing out of themselves and fulfilling their own potential and ambitions. Tell us more about your spirit guides?

I have three spirit guides that I work with. One of them has been with me for a long time, ever since I started and before, and he has always given me guidance. He is in the spirit world, but his last incarnation was in North America and he comes to me with that identity. He is very tall and strong,


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and he protects me in all kinds of ways from the energies that people bring with them. He helps me to identify the issues that people are carrying, and what they need. Another guide is a more ancient spirit, he has been here many times and comes to me when people need deep guidance and healing. I also have a healer guide who comes around when people need healing and balance, she comes through my voice, which a lot of people find soothing, calming and healing. I also have family members and ancestors who come to help when someone needs the help. It feels very much like a team effort. All of them are here to share their wisdom and knowledge and to help, guide and heal, and I am an open channel to them. They share with me information and guide me to what would work best in terms of how to deal with the issues or situation my clients find themselves in. What usually happens on an intuitive life coaching session? What can a client expect during and after a session?

The first session is usually the longest one; it can last from an hour to an hour and a half. Here we identify what is going on and why, we look at where you want to go and

discuss potential ways of achieving this, we set goals and plans to proceed. Sometimes my clients need one session, sometimes several, depending on the depth of the work that needs to be done. The process that my clients go through always leads to personal growth and understanding, whether it be understanding the relationship they are in and what is needed in that situation, or understanding what do you want to achieve on a creative basis, or simply learning more about yourself and

Email: Francisco.cruzat@btinternet.com Skype: francocruzat Facebook: www.facebook.com/ fcointuitivecoaching

what you are capable of achieving once you start to live by the guidance of your own intuition. What is the usual profile of your clients, and what are the most common problems people want help with?

Most of my clients are women as they are usually more in touch with their intuition. However, some men come for coaching too, especially those in performing arts, as they need to get in touch with their intuitive side. The two most common areas that people come to me for, are the areas of relationships and their career. In terms of relationships, I help people to understand where they are at, what patterns they may be stuck in and how they can break out of those. I help people to understand their partners, see how relationships are working, and most importantly how to move them forward. With their career, I work with people in all areas, but tend to attract creative people. Performers, writers, and designers, they all have different issues that are at some point in their career preventing them from achieving their personal goals. We work together to both identify them and then create a plan of action to move them forward.


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spirituality

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

How to practice meditation and mindfulness By Ozden Bayraktar

by connecting with the present moment, calmly observing our thoughts, feelings and sensations so as to become more directly aware of them, mindfulness practitioners become, essentially, better able to manage them


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I

t was around 1995, when I was living in Istanbul, having my psychology undergraduate degree in Koc University. I remember myself sitting on the floor, putting green candles around me and sitting quietly. I was mostly praying or talking to myself, visualising my dreams in my mind’s eye. I remember my mum looking at me with curious eyes, trying to understand what I was doing. I had started to meditate in my own way, without having any knowledge of any sort. I was an introvert as a student in university, occasionally living in my world of dreams and connecting to my heart more than connecting to people at that time. How funny that without knowing, I had invented this model of meditating, by just closing my eyes and having wishful thinking. After graduating, I had started to work as a psychologist. During these 14 years, I surely had my own spiritual challenges. During those hard times and still whenever I have a challenge in my soul, what I do is to always create more time for myself in order to increase my mindfulness and my awareness. Today, after 14 years of experience of working as a psychologist, I am able to give training in the topic of Mindfulness, both in London UK or in Istanbul, Turkey. I am so grateful to be able to improve myself as a migrant woman in London, having completed my second Masters in UCL and my PhD in Regent’s College. For years, I have been doing meditation and various spiritual practices in order to balance my mind and my soul and yet by coming across, with Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programmes, I am very happy and blessed to be able to apply these practices to my clients in a more systematic and an easy way. Thanks to John Kabat Zinn and Mark Williams! Let’s briefly look at what mindfulness and mindfulness meditation is and how it works. Mindfulness aims to achieve a relaxed, non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, feelings and sensations; what Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, part of Oxford University’s department of psychiatry, calls a “direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment”.

Buddhist monks have been practising a similar technique for 2,500 years, but western medicine caught on in the late 1970s when a US medical professor, Jon KabatZinn, began successfully treating patients with chronic pain using a secular programme he called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. In 2002, Williams and colleagues from Cambridge and Toronto universities devised Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, aimed at helping prevent the relapse of depression. Clinical trials have since shown that MBCT is as effective as antidepressants, and in patients with multiple episodes of depression can reduce the recurrence rate by 4050% compared with usual care. Nice, the

world around us: switching off the auto-pilot, noticing and watching your thoughts and feelings, and waking up to the physical sensations of things. Secondly, most teachers recommend a set daily period of more formal mindfulness practice. The techniques sound simple enough: sitting in a quiet place, deep-belly breathing, paying attention to your body, training the mind to observe, focus and filter. Setting aside 15 minutes a day is the best way to start practicing. When I gave a workshop last year, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey on the National Cognitive Behaviour Therapies Congress, I, my colleagues and some participants, discussed about the similar concepts of Buddhism and

Mindfulness aims to achieve a relaxed, non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, feelings and sensations UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, approved MBCT for the management of depression in 2004, meaning the therapy is available on the NHS. In everyday life, mindfulness is about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, rather than “living in our heads”. The pace and stress of modern living leave us caught up in a stream of thoughts and feelings, trapped in past problems or overwhelmed by future anxieties. The theory is that by connecting with the present moment, calmly observing our thoughts, feelings and sensations so as to become more directly aware of them, mindfulness practitioners become, essentially, better able to manage them. “It lets us stand back from our thoughts, and start to see their patterns,” Williams says in an interview for the NHS. “Gradually we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over, and realise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us. Most of us have issues we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively.” How do we practice it? Firstly, by becoming more aware of the

Sufism (Islam). Turkey, being mostly consisting of followers of Islam as a country, has deep connections to spiritual realms. Thus, after the congress, we shared a valuable discussion about the similar roots of Mindfulness and Islam. The first notion that was completely the same was compassion and humanity. Buddhism opposes the evils of caste and creed and asserts the equality of all beings. Just like Islam stressing on the equality of individuals, thereby, abhorring caste and creed. In both beliefs, the eternal life depends on the works of the present life. Also about the concept of universe, both beliefs claim that the universe is separate from God and had been created by him. Love for all beings is also one of the most important aspect of them. After the congress, once again I realised that being mindful, being full of compassion for ourselves and for life in general is the way to go forward. The notion of being one and united can be felt during love and kindness meditation. Let’s try to sit down and practice meditation for 15 minutes every day and let’s see the beauties of our inner self. May we can all have a week full of compassion and love!


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beauty

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

10

SUMMER BEAUTY TIPS

The sun is out and we go out more, enjoying the longer days. Our endorphin levels are high and we feel happy, but is our skin that happy with more sebum, sweat and pollution? Sweating has never been the best friend for our skin and makeup! Here are the 10 tips to have a healthy skin and look fresh and radiant all day long By Kristèle Ng Man Sun - Owner and Founder of www.mybeautytime.co.uk and - Blogger at www.lapetitelady.com

1. Out Dead Cells

2. Absorb excess oil

3. Moisturise and Protect

The best way for your makeup to look good is to start with the basic essential: have a good skincare regimen! Exfoliating is key to remove any dead cells on the skin surface which make the complexion look dull. Try Suki® Exfoliating Foaming Cleanser with real sugar crystals.

During summer, not only do we sweat but there is also more production of sebum, which makes the face look greasy especially for combination to oily skin. To prevent pores from getting clogged and infected due to impurities and pollution, apply an absorbing mask once to three times per week. Try Lumière de Vie Volcanic Exfoliating Mask with is infused with AHA and absorbing kaolin for an immediate detoxifying action.

Moisturise the skin is the first step towards delaying skin ageing. It also helps reinforce your natural skin barrier. Try oMoi “All-In-One” Balm - anti-ageing, anti-oxidant and moisturising. A little goes a long way! To protect against the nasty sunrays, apply your sunscreen on top. My favourite is Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 PA +++.  


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4. Prime your skin

6. Get the Sun kissed effect

Why? The primer acts as a barrier between your skincare and your makeup and above all, it smooths out any unevenness on the skin surface. Ideal if you have open pores and fine lines as it prevents your foundation or any makeup applied afterwards to set in. Try Motives Perfecting Face Primer or Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener.

Don’t go too heavy on the bronzing powder as it can make your complexion look dull. The Motives Pressed Bronzer Miami Glow has a gold shimmerinfused glow. Apply it on the protruding areas of the face that get the first sunrays. TIP: For a healthier look, apply blush on the apple of the cheeks on top of the bronzer. 7. Keep day eye makeup simple

5. Complexion is key

If you are addicted to foundation, then switch to a light texture with sheer-coverage. Try Motives Ageless Renewal Foundation which not only reduces the appearance of imperfections, but it also has anti-ageing skincare benefits thanks to coenzyme Q10 and hydrolysed collagen. Should you wish to skip the liquid foundation step, you can apply the Jane Iredale Purepressed Powder directly after the primer. It provides Broad Spectrum SPF20 and UVA P++ protection, that is water resistant up to 40 minutes. Ideal for busy women as it provides a foundation, concealer, sunscreen and active skincare benefits all in one.

A lovely colour for summer time is gold which usually flatters most complexions when you start getting tanned. I like Motives Pressed Eyeshadows for their high pigments. Try the Antique Gold colour, which can also be perfectly blended with other deeper colours for a night makeup. 8. Perfect your eyeliner

No more fear with the eyeliner application with Cailyn Line Fix Gel Liner. The brush is integrated in the cap and the hairs are just the right size and firmness to draw a smooth line easily and hassle-free. The gel is smudge-proof and waterproof for 24h!

Highly pigmented and exists in different colours, it is safe for sensitive eyes. If you still don’t feel confident with the eyeliner, go for a softer line with the Cailyn Gel Glider Eyeliner – highly pigmented gel eyeliners in pencil form. 9. Treat your lips

For me, even before thinking of applying any kind of lipstick or gloss, the first and foremost thing to do is to treat your lips! They age, lose volume and crack. Try the Oh Lief Natural Lip Balm Grapefruit or Motives 40FY™ Lip Treatment which instantly plumps up, moisturises and protects your lips. 10. Work your pout!

Whether you prefer lipstick or gloss, adding colour to your lips can instantly bring a glow to your overall complexion. Try Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm for a matte covering finish or Cailyn Pearly Shimmer Lip Balm for an illuminating glossy effect.


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my story

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

Tania Perera London has made me who I am today It is often said about New York City, but in my mind if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. As for me, my journey is only beginning but so far, it’s a pretty exciting start to my story, if I do say so myself

I

will never forget the moment I stepped off the plane when I landed at London Heathrow seven years ago. It’s not that I was a stranger to the city, quite the contrary. I was born here and visited from my home in Cyprus almost every year since, however this time I was to make London my permanent place of residence. I was fifteen years old and had just been accepted into Fine Arts College in Hampstead, where I

would do my A Levels. Following my life in Cyprus the idea of living in London filled me with excitement. In my young eyes it was a big city full of opportunities, vibrant with culture and a much-desired step towards the future, and away from my sleepy little town on a quiet island. I moved in with my Aunt and began exploring the city eagerly awaiting the start of the school year. I found myself getting

lost in crowds in the West End, in awe of the sounds around me, and the seemingly organised chaos that was London. I allowed myself to become immersed in the beautiful mess of this city and by the time I graduated from art college at eighteen, I started taking my coffee black, writing music and poetry and stopped expecting people to say thank you when I held the door for them. I was beginning to find that life here was far more difficult than I anticipated, and though the streets were full of inspiring people and places it was also, like any city, rife with tales of misery and hardship. After graduating, I found myself facing that same question which most young people face at some point in their early adulthood; what do I really want to do with my life? Being in a city saturated with talented artists, writers and musicians, with endless choices, this may have hindered me in some ways. I felt lost and directionless, but my parents were supportive of me trying as many things as I needed to, in order to find something I truly loved and for that I am forever grateful. I went on to study music management for a year in the hope of managing my own music career, only to find that I would rather be singing and writing the songs, not handling the structured business side of the industry. I then decided to try my hand at fashion design. I was accepted into the London College of Fashion to do a foundation year, where I could get a feel for the industry and decide if that’s truly where my heart was. Strangely enough it was through this that I learned about my love of writing. I submitted an assignment in the form of a short story, and then forgot all about it until my results were sent to me. My teacher called me aside and I immediately began to panic. Surely my work wasn’t so bad that he needed to discuss it with me! He appeared serious and slightly concerned. Once the rest of the class had left he finally took a big breath and said “Tania, why do you want to study fashion?” I was taken aback by the question, I couldn’t figure out what he meant. “Fashion? I don’t know, I like it I guess.” I shrugged. He paused.


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“What about writing? How do you feel about writing?” I didn’t even have to think before answering this question. “Oh, I love to write.” Suddenly the realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. I love to write. I love to write. He nodded and went on to tell me that he thought my short story was very well written and gave me the names of a few universities, which ran courses in English literature and creative writing. I got home and went straight to work doing my research. I found my dream course at Goldsmiths University. This was it. This was what I had come to London to look for. I read through the required qualifications and my heart sank. English A Level was required, and I had only done Arts A Level. I was determined to find a way in to Goldsmiths so I rang the university. They informed me that the only other option I had was to take what is known as an IELTS test to show I had a basic English Level and then they would consider my results, along with my writing portfolio. During these few months I completed my fashion foundation and began preparing to do whatever it took to get into Goldsmiths. Finally the day came for me to take my IELTS test, my acceptance into the university of my dreams completely depended on me passing this test with a high enough score. I was nervous and exhausted all at the same time. Waiting in line I looked around me at the other aspiring students. Hundreds of young people from all over the world were nervously waiting to take the same test as I was. All of us had come to the same city, hoping that London would be the place where all our dreams were realised. I waited anxiously for my results and eventually received the news that I passed, and was accepted into Goldsmiths University. It finally felt as though my life was starting to fall into place in London. I had found what I was looking for and the place that once felt so foreign and overwhelming to me was beginning to feel like home. I’m currently in my first year of my degree at Goldsmiths and when I am not busy hitting the books for university, I am singing and writing songs in my own band. I often look back on my life since moving to

London. It began with looking at the city like a deer in the headlights, unable to understand how things worked in such a chaotic place, or how to keep up, and I found myself overwhelmed, homesick and unsure of who I was becoming or how London was influencing me as a person. I now feel as though I have conquered this city. I find myself stepping in time with the surging crowds on Oxford Street and can find my way home from my favourite bubble tea cafe in China Town, in my sleep. This strange and mysterious place is familiar to me now, it’s home and I can honestly say that I never saw myself becoming this settled in a metropolis which initially dazzled and frightened me. I have come into contact with an incredible amount of talented, intelligent, driven people with stories of success and stories of loss that I have carried in my heart with me. It is because I know that I met each and every one of these people along the way for a reason, not purely by chance. In that sense London has made me who I am today. It is often said about New York City, but in my mind if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. As for me, my journey is only beginning but so far, it’s a pretty exciting start to my story, if I do say so myself.

I now feel as though I have conquered this city. I find myself stepping in time with the surging crowds on Oxford Street and can find my way home from my favourite bubble tea cafe in China Town, in my sleep


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meet...

MIGRANT WOMAN #4 JULY / AUGUST 2014

tina grahavi

T

Filmmaker/author of ‘I Am Nasrine’

ina Gharavi is a filmmaker whose work focuses on ‘untold stories, unheard voices’ and filmmaking from the margins. Tina has been hailed as one of the most inspirational and thoughtprovoking filmmakers of her generation. Since leaving Iran in 1979 she has been a true nomad (like her great-grandfather from the Bakhtiari tribe in Persia). Carrying no less than four passports, she trained as a painter in the United States and studied cinema in France but currently resides in the North of England. She is noted for her innovative cross-platform work on migration. Sundance programmer Shari Frilot said of Tina Gharavi’s film ‘Closer’ that ‘it takes documentary to the next level.’ Since then, she has made endearing, inimitably voiced films from unique perspectives on subjects as diverse as Muhammad Ali, teenage sexuality, Yemeni-British sailors, The Lackawanna 6, death row exonerees, and lighthouses. Using all her reserves of ingenuity, she recently completed her first feature with no formal film finance. ‘I Am Nasrine’ is a coming of age story of two teenage Iranian refugees in the North of England. The project patron Sir Ben Kingsley called it “a life enhancing film, an important and much needed film.” Tina Gharavi plans a change of direction with her next feature, a gangster film with girls, guns and the odd Iranian thrown in. Tina also teaches filmmaking at Newcastle University and has lectured worldwide including Oxford University, UCL, SUNY Buffalo and Croatia as well as other exotic locations. Here we get a brief insight from Tina in this short interview.

Migrant’s stories are heroic by nature. They are the Odyssey and the Illiad. They are epic and emotive by nature. They are the journey that many of us take, literal or metaphorical, which is to find home, to find ourselves You left your home country many years ago - If you travel back in time what would you say to yourself? Pack for a long time, girl, you might not see this place for 23 years. Collect your drawings, they’ll mean something to you one day, and kiss your mother goodbye. You have invested in your personal and professional development for many years now - who has supported you with this? There have been many individuals and some to mention are: My art teacher, Mrs Prisco, from high school; Dr John Belton, my film professor; Beeban Kidron, one of my mentors; Lesley Walker, and an editor I worked with. Professionally, I’ve had a lot of support from various organisations in the UK Film Industry but also the arts too. There are many schemes but the best has been Guiding Lights, which is run by Lighthouse and the amazing Emily and Becca. They really deserve credit. A painter, a filmmaker, passionate about story telling - what inspires you more? Stories inspire me, the medium or form less so for me. I love stories that are told in images. I see the world through very strong graphical viewpoints. What makes you feel so touched with

migration and the stories of migrant people? Migrant’s stories are heroic by nature. They are the Odyssey and the Illiad. They are epic and emotive by nature. They are the journey that many of us take, literal or metaphorical, which is to find home, to find ourselves. If someone would like to make the film of your life - what are the main things that you would like to watch there? I’d like to know how it ends. I’m interested in closure. Did I use life well? Was it wasted? Did any of it matter? I am obsessed with death so this is the wrong (or right) question for me. I hope there is a “To be continued” but I don’t imagine there is. What is the most important thing in your life? Cinema is the only thing that gives my life meaning. I keep waiting for something else to mean more… but it doesn’t. If I could disappear into the desert and make films, watch films and be surrounded by it, I would. What is your mission in life - if you have discovered it? I am unsure about the mission, all I know is that I am meant to tell stories and help make this world a better place. That is all.


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Migrant woman magazine issue 4  
Migrant woman magazine issue 4  

Migrant Woman Magazine is an inspirational voice for women of the Universe. It provides a platform for women to celebrate diversity, cultur...

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