Originally from Uganda

Outreach Worker at Integration and Support Unit (ISU) of the Edmund Rice Centre, Republic of Ireland

Victoria's Story

To this day I remember receiving the positive news about my refugee status; I felt an enormous sensation of exhilaration and relief! My first steps into Irish life however were a difficult struggle.

I studied in Uganda, where I obtained a diploma in Hotel Management and Tourism. I wanted to continue my studies in Ireland, and to pursue a career in something quite different: social work. After an interview with a career office, I was advised to first apply for a basic course in Humanities, Science and Technology to prepare for the mainstream course in social work. Although at first I dismissed the need for a preparatory course, I discovered it was very useful. The course helped me to prepare mentally, linguistically, and practically for my subsequent degree in social work.

While studying, I gained valuable work experience in a hotel, a casino and also working as a receptionist. Later, with my newly acquired degree in social work, I volunteered with the Integration and Support Unit (ISU) of the Edmund Rice Centre. This organization provides services to asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in need, so I drew on my own experiences in this role. After six months, a position arose within the organization and I decided to apply! I have been employed by the ISU ever since and I relish my job.

“If there’s an opportunity, grab it. Get your face out there and meet people. Don’t sit and sleep in bed, build your CV”

For people embarking on their integration journey in Ireland, I advise them to grab any opportunity. For me, this mentality is what took me to a paid position that I enjoy to this day. Take up volunteering work, get out of the house, take classes – get your face out there and meet people. Don’t stay in bed - build your CV!

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