This is Dalia’s story about how she moved from Iraq to Dundee, found support and friendship in the DIWC and opportunities which resulted in a career in childcare.
Studying to become an engineer
“I was born and brought up in Mosul, Iraq. I spent most of my life there, was educated and worked there.
When I was young I dreamed of becoming a doctor. When I got high scores in my final year of school, I joined the Engineering College and finished my degree in mechanical engineering in 2000.
Iraq is a lovely country, a beautiful place. It has a highly educated, hard-working society and good healthcare system. My University was coeducational. There were lots of girls in my class, and boys and girls study together, do labs together and graduate at the same time.
Getting married and moving to the UK
I got married when I was 23 years old, I met my husband in my city at a family gathering. He then asked for my hand from my parents. In 2009, I came to the UK, straight to Dundee, with my family. We moved here because my husband got a scholarship for his PhD Degree.
The UK is a different world, the people are really welcoming and from lots of different cultures. I was initially worried about how I would engage with the locals. The first year I found it really difficult to meet people, but the centre made it really easy for me.
Joining the DIWC and finding my feet
I didn’t know anyone in Dundee until my children started nursery and I met some people there. They told me about the Dundee International Women’s Centre where I could improve my English and join the NPA class. Since 2012, I have been working as a childcare support worker in the crèche and I had the opportunity to finish my SVQ 3 through the centre and I am now a childcare practitioner.
I enjoy working in the crèche and being part of DIWC. I miss home a lot, but through DIWC I have met lots of people, lots of friends and they have become like my family as well. The centre has given me support and confidence. You can speak to the staff or members when you are going through hard times.
I found all the love and support I need in the centre.
Looking to the future
I didn’t practice engineering because I am responsible for my three boys and my family. Also, I feel it would be too difficult to retrain in the UK while my children are still young. I decided to do something with children because I am a Mum I know lots of things about children and I like being with the children.
I miss engineering, maybe if I have more time or another opportunity to study Engineering over here I will. I miss my country too and all the people there. I would move back if it was safe, like before, but since the war began in 2003, it’s not safe anymore for my family.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to working towards my goals in my new career. I would like to find a full-time job working with children. I am also looking forward to giving my children everything they need, watching them grow and seeing what they will become in the future.”