Before coming to the Netherlands with her husband and her son, Lara worked for ten years as an independent lawyer in her own office in Syria. During her last years there, she spent a lot of time with refugees. Together with UN teams, Lara went to refugee camps to give presentations and lectures about refugees’ rights. Until the situation became too dangerous and she too had to flee. Her knowledge and experience as a lawyer in Syria and as a refugee in the Netherlands are very valuable to NewBees. Lara is familiar with the fears for a new and unknown life, the challenges newcomers face, the nostalgia for the past, and also with dreaming of a bright future. But what makes Lara an ideal matcher is her capacity to always think in terms of solutions. And her persistence. “You should never stop dreaming!”
“Recently I met with a school principal who was actually not open to hiring newcomers. Language turned out to be the biggest barrier.” Lara believes that language should not be a barrier. “I am also a newcomer and my Dutch might not be perfect, but I have learned to make myself understood”. Lara started her study ‘HBO Social Work’ and was given the opportunity to do an internship at NewBees where she could learn the Dutch language and experience the Dutch work culture. She is keen on helping others get a similar opportunity. This is exactly what she has been doing since September last year at NewBees in Zaandam. “NewBees is not only my team but also my big family.”
“You should never stop dreaming!”
Lara especially enjoys finding new employers. She does not hesitate to knock on doors. She looks for internships and paid work at places such as the Dutch Red Cross or the Bloesem community center in Zaandam. At schools and at hairdressers. At healthcare organisations and at the fire department.
“If you stick to one idea only, you will not see other solutions and you will miss nice opportunities”
“It is important to think in solutions for both parties. For the employers and also for the newcomers,” Lara explains. Sometimes someone has a very specific idea in mind. That he or she can only work in education, for example. Unfortunately, this is not always possible because of a diploma or certificate issues. Lara tries to offer alternatives because she says “if you stick to one idea only, you will not see other solutions and you will miss nice opportunities.”