Boshra's story

Boshra's story

Boshra is one of Nisa’s first employees - these are her words and her story, transcribed by Elisha.

Hi everyone, my name is Boshra.  I’m 26 years old. I come from Syria - I lived in Homs for my entire life before I left in 2011.  I fled to Lebanon because of the war in my country, along with my husband and 3 children. I stayed in Lebanon for four years, but it was hard for me and other Syrians there.  It was not the place for children to be. There were no good schools for them either.

We got a call in 2014 asking whether we wanted to be resettled in another country. My husband said a big YES! They said we had a meeting with UNHCR, and later on we met with New Zealand Immigration.  It was another 6 months before we could actually leave to go to New Zealand. I was so happy. It was a little bit scary too, because it was only my little family going. We didn’t know where we would live, we had no friends there, no other family.  

We first had 6 weeks in Mangere, where we met other refugees arriving in New Zealand.  There we were told that we would be moved to Wellington. It was a little bit scary in Wellington because it was a new house, new country, new people, new language.  For the first three months, we didn’t really know anything. Luckily I had some Red Cross volunteers that showed me what to do - they were great and I am so lucky.  

After I had been in Wellington for one year, I felt much better.  I could speak a bit of English - I could understand most things going on around me.  My children were happy at school. I love that New Zealand is so peaceful, and the people around me are so lovely.

I told Red Cross that I wanted to work.  They started to look for me - when I saw the opportunity to work at Nisa, I was happy to go to an interview.  I met with Elisha, who runs Nisa. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to work there. I worried that I might not have done well in the trial, I worried that I had too much to do at home.  But my husband really encouraged me to take the opportunity and said that he would help with the children at home to allow me to spend time away.

After one month of working at Nisa, I was very happy working with other women at the workshop.  I really liked with working with Elisha. I eventually shifted to working 20 hours a week. It means I am away from my children more, but I wanted to work more because I enjoyed it so much.  

After working for four months, Elisha hired Averil to run the workshop as the production manager.  She helped me in my work, and she is a beautiful lady. She is a great sewer, and I can learn from her.

I want to thank Red Cross and Elisha.  They both help me so much, and I feel very lucky.


  • Catherine McKinlay on

    Hi Boshra
    I’m your teacher from Mangere! Remember me? It’s fantastic to see what you are doing now. Well done! I really love your products, too.
    Best wishes to you, your family and your Syrian friends. Alhamdullilah.

  • Clare on

    Thank you Boshra for sharing your heartbreaking story. I am so sorry you had to leave your country and friends. I hope you and your family are happy here. You are very brave to come. Very brave to start working and learning how to sew – all in another language. Thank you.

  • Nikki Porteous on

    Thank you for sharing your story Boshra. I think you and your family are so brave and I’m pleased to hear how much enjoyment you gain from working. I remember feeling like that when I returned to work after being a stay at home Mum.

  • Nalani on

    Thank you for sharing your story, Boshra. It’s lovely to learn a little more about you and know about the women making Nisa’s beautiful garments. I’m sorry your country was no longer safe for you and your family but I’m so glad you were able to find a new home here in New Zealand.

  • Jo Jordan on

    Hi Boshra, thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us. I am glad you have made your home in New Zealand, I am sorry you had to leave Syria but am very happy that you and your family are safe and well here.

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