Laila Alim came to Germany from Afghanistan already in 1985. Following some detours, she now works as a registered general nurse in home care.
Laila Alim fled to Germany for political reasons at the age of 20. She had previously completed a vocational training course as a midwife and general nurse in her native region in southern Afghanistan. Yet without recognition she was not allowed to work in her profession in Germany. "I had actually intended to immediately pursue recognition, because my work is very dear to me. But my family situation did not allow for it." For 15 years, she cared full time for her five children. "Yet I never lost sight of my goal to also work in Germany."
Laila Alim eventually launched the project of having her training as a midwife recognised in 2011. However, she was unable to complete the required adaptation programme, because she could not find an internship placement near to where she lives. A very disappointing setback. "But I fought on!", says the optimistic power woman.
And a new door opened. An employee at the Behörde für Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz in Hamburg (Agency for Health and Consumer Protection in Hamburg) made her aware that as an alternative she could apply for recognition of her second vocational training qualification as a general nurse. At first, however, the qualification failed to be assessed as being equivalen. This is why Laila Alim attended a one-year adaptation programme, which was funded by the non-profit "passage" association and carried out in co-operation with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and its Universitäre Bildungsakademie (University Education Academy). A demanding period. Laila Alim particularly struggled with the host of specialist terminology during the training programme. "But I have learnt many new things, also, because my training in Afghanistan was geared specifically towards treating female patients."
After the 51-year-old had completed her practical experience periods and module examinations, she was finally granted recognition as a registered general nurse. "I subsequently received so many job offers, I hardly had to do much by way of applying for jobs! I had already worked at my current job in a temporary assistant role during the adaptation programme", says Alim.
Much has changed for her since then. "I now receive more respect in my job as a registered general nurse. And everyone is happy with my professional competence", she says. She adds that having been able to complete the adaptation qualification in Germany means a lot to her and that it fills her with pride. "I enjoy working and attend to my patients with an open heart. And my children now are old enough, too, so I can freely work in my profession. Moreover, I am proud that I now am able to buy them something nice more often."
Photograph: © Portal “Recognition in Germany“/BIBB
The interview with Laila Alim was conducted in August 2014. The adaptation programme was implemented by passage gGmbH, a project under the auspices of "IQ Netzwerk Hamburg – NOBI".
Lidia Skurat, a registered general nurse, arrived in Germany in 2013. She was without a job here initially—but thanks to recognition she's now working again on a full-time basis in her occupation.
Alberto Garcia, who was trained as a registered nurse in Spain, could not work in his profession without official recognition. Since Garcia has received his letter of recognition, he has been working as a health care worker and nurse in Baden-Württemberg and receives remuneration appropriate to his qualification.