Ghalia was born in 1976 in a small village near Fes, Morocco as the eighth of eight children in her family. Her mother suffered from severe health problems after the delivery, and her parents weren't able to raise her, so she grew up with one of her sisters in Oujda, a small rather conservative town near the Algerian border, where girls didn't have much freedom or opportunity. One day when we were preparing the boys' birthday party, she told me that as a girl she wasn't allowed to attend other kids' birthday parties - fun was not part of her childhood or education. After high school her family was unwilling to pay for additional education - despite her very good results - because she was a girl and it was time to get married. But, she continuously fought for her rights and refused to get married at such a young age. Ghalia knew she didn't want to follow the usual path of a woman in that place and time.
Her desire for independence was so strong that at the age of 20 she decided to leave her family and move alone to Casablanca. She started working for different families, cleaning and taking care of kids and elderly people, learned French and, over the years, obtained professional training as a nursery school teacher. Working mostly with European families piqued her curiosity about other countries and cultures. Although she was able to earn and save enough to purchase a small apartment where she lives on her own (which is very uncommon for Moroccan women), she felt that Morocco could not provide her with the level of safety, justice and freedom she desires.
About three years ago she learned that due to demographic shifts, the demand for skilled geriatric nurses in Germany is high. She decided to learn German and pursue those opportunities. Returning to school at the age of 40 while working full time was not easy. After about two and a half years of study, she achieved the proficiency to pass the language tests necessary to obtain a job and a visa. She taught herself how to use the computer, applied for apprenticeships in Germany and succeeded via online job interviews in being admitted to a 3-year apprenticeship program in Castrop-Rauxel, a town near Dusseldorf. After completing the apprenticeship, she will be able to work as a fully qualified geriatric nurse in Germany.
As an apprentice she will receive a very modest salary but unlike most German apprentices, she will not be able to live at home or receive support from her family. We will continue to assist her and are sharing her story in the hopes that a broader community will provide additional support to help her get settled in during her first year. She will for example need basic furniture, insurance, and money for public transportation, as well as a laptop to complete her online training.
Embarking for a new country is a big adventure and takes a lot of courage. We know Ghalia has the strength and resilience to make this transition because she's worked to overcome so many obstacles in her life. Your help will benefit Ghalia as well as the residents of the elderly care facility in Germany who will receive her love and care.
- Shannon Sutton
- Valerie Peters
- Nathalie Heinsohn
- Mickey/Judy Gaynor
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