Refugee and Migrant Work in Bristol

a lanyard, pedometer and business card

Yasmeen works at Ashley Community Housing, an organisation that helps integrate refuges and migrants to the UK. She specialises in integration products that allow ACH to help refugees better.

She also has a CV and cover writing business called ‘Write Ink’.

With extra time during the pandemic, “I aimed to walk 10k steps a day and gave the pedometer as a reminder of that. The walks would be to wherever I felt like going until I reached 10k steps. I love the harbourside so would often head to the waters.” (Yasmeen, 2022)

Listen to Yasmeen’s story:

Read the transcript from Yasmeen’s story:

[00:00:00] [Actuality kickboxing: “Let’s go Yasmeen. Let’s go!” “Oh no. Oh no. Oh no…”]

My name is Yasmeen. I am from the Netherlands and I’ve lived in Bristol for 16 years. I chose Bristol as my home to be closer to my family.

What surprised me, I think, were the people. Growing up in the Netherlands, there were a lot of Moroccans, Turkish people and kind of coming to England and seeing people from like just different parts of the world. You know, there were a lot more people from the Caribbean here in England, um, from West Africa and that wasn’t really the case in the Netherlands. I had gotten used to one thing for so long and kind of coming here and having to, uh, kind of grow, I guess, and learn about people and traditions and cultures. It was the best thing ever, I guess…I think it felt like home when I would have to actively sit and remind myself that I’m from the Netherlands.

[Kickboxing instructor: “goes forwards, everyone goes back, step back, jab…”] I go kickboxing at a place called Trojan Free Fighters. The reason why I go is because my trainer is actually my childhood friend. [00:01:00] She really kind of got into karate and jujitsu and all these amazing things and runs a women only classes. They do discounted classes for the kids from the community and they get to do classes like jujitsu and kickboxing with certified trainers and coaches and have the best time ever.

I’ve loved working at ACH for the last five years. And I’m doing a master’s in education policy and international development. ACH is a refugee-led organisation that works to integrate refugees into the city. And doing my masters has showed me the importance of education. There are so many opportunities that I’ve had living in England, living in Bristol. Free education is definitely one of them. And it’s not something that I take for granted. I’d like to give that back in whatever way that I can.

It really is just…not a melting pot because I don’t think everyone is [00:02:00] kind of blending into one…more like a tossed salad, you know, like everyone has all of these great, you know, individual things about them and, you know, everyone kind of lives in this city exactly as they are and just brings in their own uniqueness.

I think my heritage is being respected by it being left alone by me just being allowed to exist in all the spaces exactly as I am without having to conform, you know, I’m not being asked to take off my head scarf to be able to go to work. I’m not asked to entirely deny who I am and my background and all of the experience that I’ve had to be able to just fit into society.