Shatha comes from Palestine and has been living in the Netherlands for five years, with her three children. She rather talks about what is possible than complain about what is not. And she likes to tell her own story. About how much she enjoyed teaching Arabic to children during the nine years she lived in Saudi Arabia and how they taught her English. About moving to Syria after her husband died, where the situation was rapidly getting worse. About how she decided to come to the Netherlands, where her sister had already been for thirty years. About all the positive stories her sister had told her about the country and the Dutch people.
Shatha loves to cook. During her first months in the Netherlands she often cooked, for example for people who spent whole days in meetings at the municipality. “I get positive energy when people like my dishes.” Now she has hardly any time for cooking, because almost immediately after her arrival in the Netherlands, Shatha started looking for volunteer work. She got to know NewBees pretty quickly after her arrival and three months later she started her traineeship.
“Give newcomers a chance. They have talent, knowledge and experience. What they need is an opportunity and a place to start.”
Today Shatha is a successful matcher at NewBees in Zaanstad. Every time she manages to arrange an internship or a job, it makes her happy. Especially when it is for someone who was limitedly motivated at first. “Many newcomers are apprehensive,” Shatha explains, “sometimes they do not dare to take the steps that would help them get out of the governmental benefit program, they are afraid of losing something again.” She also meets many newcomers who are highly educated, but do not get the opportunity to practice their profession here. “They are disappointed and sometimes they don’t want to work at all.” Yet Shatha regularly manages to motivate such a person. “I explain to them that we have to take small steps and above all that we must continue to think positively. Because if you think positively, you will have more positive experiences. ”
“I explain that we have to take small steps and above all that we must continue to think positively. Because if you think positively, you will have more positive experiences.”
Among other achievements, the NewBees team in Zaanstad has matched fifteen women with the Kernschool. This is a school that newcomers’ children attend the first year they are in the Netherlands to learn the language, and before they go to a regular Dutch school. Shatha believes that nursing homes are also great places for internships. “We help the elderly by doing something fun with them, and they help us learn Dutch.”
“We help the elderly by doing something fun with them, and they help us learn Dutch.”
When Shatha arrived in the Netherlands, her dream was to get a paid job, maybe even a permanent contract. When that dream finally came true, she knew that nothing was impossible anymore. Shatha uses her positive approach with both newcomers and employers. “Yes, it can be scary and intimidating for both parties, but I believe they should try it anyway.” To newcomers she says: “If you really want to, it will work. Others can help you build the bridge, but you will have to walk across it yourself. Try it, stay positive and you’ll be fine. ” And she tells companies and organizations: “Give newcomers a chance. They have talent, knowledge and experience. What they need is an opportunity and a place to start.”