A remarkable story from Nigeria

December 14, 2017 by Warren Hurst
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Miriam and Isaac’s migration from Africa is unique for one very significant reason. Isaac and Miriam don’t come from South Africa or Zimbabwe, they come from Nigeria which contrary to popular belief, is a country that actually has 50,000 people who follow Jewish practices.

Isaac and Miriam

Isaac and Miriam knew each other in Nigeria and in 2011 Isaac decided to migrate to Sydney without a job and without an established expat community for support.

Times were challenging and Isaac finally contacted the Family Services team at JewishCare. The team was able to help him a number of ways including assistance to enrol at university and to access housing. Most critically  JewishCare’s Companies that Care (CTC) program, the program which links job seekers with companies whose owners offer jobs to fellow community members, helped Isaac to find a job at Toymate a company owned by Danny Bloom.

This came about via Merle Klug who has had a long and successful career in recruitment and who volunteers with CTC program.

Three years ago, as Isaac’s financial situation had improved sufficiently for him to ask Miriam to join him.

Miriam too, had a difficult time in the period after she arrived. She had to re-qualify to continue working in pathology and was feeling very lonely in a strange country while also looking after their 18-month-old child, Menorah. She persisted and passed her exams, but then she could not find a job. She became more depressed with every knock back she got. “Nothing was working, said Miriam “I didn’t know what to do, I was desperate…..

“I didn’t know what to do, I was desperate, then for the second time, Merle came to our rescue”. This time Merle contacted her friend, Lynne Seskin who works for a pathology company. Lynne said : “On meeting Miriam I felt such a strong bond. My husband and I also came from Africa, but in our case South Africa, so we had the opportunity to join an established community including relatives, school and family friends and other acquaintances. Miriam and Isaac had nothing but their indomitable will to succeed. They are both lovely warm people and fellow Jews from a completely different background. Fortunately I was in a position to help Miriam to get a job“.

When a suitable position became available in the company she worked for, Lynne proposed Miriam. This landed Miriam that lucky break she needed and since then she has impressed everyone and has already been promoted from Lab Aid to Scientific Officer. Life is looking even more exciting for Miriam and Isaac. They married under the chuppah, Isaac is only months away from finishing his law degree and the couple are expecting a baby. “I never could have accomplished this without the help and support of Lynne and Merle who showed so much faith in me and of course this all started when Isaac initially received life changing support from JewishCare. We have been blessed” said Miriam. JewishCare Annual Report 2016 – 2017 13 JewishCare continues to ben

Charmaine Silove who manages JewishCare’s CTC program is always interested in speaking to community members with a business who may be able to offer that lucky break to Jewish job seekers. Contact: C.silove@jewishcare.com.au



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