Mariam came to the UK as a teenager and refugee in 2015. She was referred to Laamiga in 2017 by another organisation who had worked with her and felt that she could benefit from the one to one mentoring provided by Laamiga. Mariam was paired with Sarah to support her with adapting to life in the UK.

Mariam’s goals were to improve her English reading and writing and find a job. Sarah met with her once a week at a local library. At first, the mentoring sessions focused on doing English reading and writing exercises and working on her CV and job applications. Sarah used a range of online resources to help Mariam practise her English.

As Mariam and Sarah began to build trust, Mariam became more confident and comfortable to ask for advice on other areas of her life including issues with housing, benefits and setting up phone contracts and online banking.

Mariam also became an expectant mother during this time and Sarah was able to support her with navigating the health system as well as the benefits system. Sarah also supported Mariam with the practicalities of dealing with the Council and landlords when her housing situation changed and she was moved to accommodation outside of London.

Mariam said it was valuable to have an English speaking person who was available to help with a wide range of issues and tasks that are particularly difficult for someone with limited English and experience of how different systems work. As Mariam has now moved much further away, Sarah and Mariam are no longer to meet regularly but still keep in touch and Sarah is always happy to help with questions and advice.