Bookkeeper at Buddy Film: a first step towards a new career

Fadwa lives in Vlaardingen with her husband and two sons. Before coming to the Netherlands in 2015, she worked for 15 years as a lawyer in Syria. Her knowledge of the Dutch language is not yet sufficient to find a job in her field of work. That’s why she was happy to start with the NewBees traineeship at the Buddy Film Foundation, where she now has a paid job as a bookkeeper. The Buddy Film Foundation connects film professionals with a refugee background with their Dutch colleagues and acts as a starting point and platform for professional film makers and creatives in the Netherlands.

Fadwa: “I grew up in Salamia and went to university in Damascus to study law. There I met my husband and we stayed in the capital. I graduated in 2000 and immediately after my internship I opened my own law firm. For fifteen years I worked hard to build my future. In 2015 I had to flee from Syria and I lost everything. When I arrived in the Netherlands, I immediately started looking for a job. Work has always been important to me. Staying at home makes me crazy. In 2017 my Dutch was not good yet but I worked as a volunteer in a retirement home. I have now passed my B2 state exams and since 2018 I do social work two days a week at Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland. My tasks are always different, but that doesn’t matter to me. My goal is to learn the language. Besides, anything is better than staying at home.”

A traineeship as a bookkeeper

“At the beginning of this year I watched on Facebook a nice interview of my friend Shatha. In the interview she talks about her work as a matcher at NewBees in Zaanstad, about the traineeships and how she prepares newcomers for jobs in the Netherlands. I got curious and spoke to my consultant at the municipality of Rotterdam who advised me to contact NewBees. I made an appointment with Helen, coordinator of NewBees in Rotterdam. Shortly after, Helen proposed me a traineeship as a bookkeeper at Buddyfilm. At first, I thought that I wasn’t qualified for the position. I didn’t study for it, did I? But I’m good at math and I’m a fast learner.”

Emails in Dutch to customers and suppliers

“After the first month of training, Buddy Film offered me a contract for a paid job. I work two days a week at the office in Rotterdam, together with the accountant who supervises me. The rest of the team is based at the head office in Amsterdam. Sixteen hours isn’t much, but it’s great for gaining experience, learning new skills, practicing the language and being in contact with people. Nowadays I even send emails in Dutch to customers and suppliers. This job is my first paid job in the Netherlands. I don’t earn much and that small amount is also deducted from my benefits, but for now that doesn’t matter. I see it as a start, a first step and it makes me happy. I hope I will get more hours and an extension of my contract. I would like to work full-time and be no longer dependent on benefits.”

Part-time study at Inholland College of Applied Sciences

“I tried to find work in my field. In 2019 I even did an internship at a law firm during three months, but I soon realized that my knowledge of the Dutch language was insufficient. If I ever want to work in my field again, I’ll have to study further. I did an assessment at UAF (University Asylum Fund) and my level turned out to be good enough for an HBO education. I am registered at Inholland for the part-time Legal Services Studies. Unfortunately, it was postponed by Corona for almost two years. I can finally start next September.

A positive impact on my family

“My work has a positive impact on my family. At home I tell a lot about it. My husband and my children are proud of me. As a mother I am also a role model for my boys, I encourage them to pay even more attention to their studies, to speak Dutch as often as possible. The oldest is in Mbo-2 and the youngest in Mavo. They get good grades, especially in math. Because of their language level, they are not yet allowed to go to Havo. Their teachers say that it is better for them to take a little longer, as long as there is progress, so first Mavo and then Havo. They are right. It’s been hard enough for my children and they’re doing well now. My hope is in four or five years to have a nice full-time job. Most of all, I want to build a good, peaceful and healthy life with my family in the Netherlands.”

Impact At NewBees, we measure the impact of our work on all our stakeholders. On the participants like Fadwa, whose traineeship and work have a positive impact on her family. We also measure the impact for companies where traineeships take place, for the NewBees organization itself, for municipalities and the society as a whole. Here Hier you will find our integrated annual report 2020, with a detailed explanation and all the results of our impact measurement.

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