Volunteering led to a permanent job for Hind Aljuboori, manager of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice shop in Thornliebank.
She arrived in Scotland in 2008 after fleeing her home in Iraq and then spending two years in Syria.
“I sort out donations, price goods, deal with customers, take calls for uplifting furniture and sell clothes and furniture in the shop,” she explains.
“I started as a volunteer in the Cardonald shop - I went there to improve my English.
“After two years I was asked if I could work as a relief shop manager. I was told my English was better and I could do everything in the shop, so why didn’t I take a job?
“I thought the interview would be too hard, it was my first interview in the UK. I knew all about the hospice and it went really well. I started covering for other managers when they were on holiday.
Now I work as one of the permanent managers in Thornliebank.”
She adds: “I left my country after war in Iraq. I was scared for my children and afraid that my husband or my son could be killed.
“We went to Syria and stayed there for two years. I didn’t know what to do, we rented a flat and I started working from home, offering maths tuition for children.
“I worked as a maths teacher in Iraq but I left my job and my husband left his work, we left our house with nowhere to go. We didn’t know what to do in the future.
“I never thought I would be here in Scotland. After one year I gave birth to my youngest child, who is Scottish. Then I went to an agency to ask if I can start volunteering. I’d already been to college to study English and I studied English in my country but communication is different. When I came here I could understand but it was difficult to reply and have a conversation.
“After six months here my children could speak English fluently. When I went to college all the students were foreign, they weren’t from here, and they made the same mistakes as me. I thought I should start with native speakers, so went to the nearest charity shop to my flat and was accepted as a volunteer cashier. It was great, I could communicate with people.
“Then I applied for the relief shop manager job. Now I have been working for five years as a manager.”
Hind’s husband moved to Scotland first and then got a visa for his wife and children to join him. Hind was on her own in Syria for two years with her children before the move to Scotland could be organised.
“We arrived in Scotland in May and in Iraq that’s when spring and summer start. I threw away all my winter clothes to make my suitcase lighter. When I arrived I said, ‘Why did no-one tell me how cold it is?’” she laughs.