Gráinne Corr arrived in Luxembourg 25 years ago: she had been on her way back to Vancouver, where she had been living, and stopped to visit a friend in the grand duchy.
“I never made it back to Vancouver,” she says, smiling. After working in banking for 20 years, she met a coach “who showed me I wasn’t stuck.” In 2015, she received her life and executive coaching qualification.
Two years ago, a friend invited her to an event hosted by Dress for Success, a 150-volunteer-strong organisation which aims to empower women through its network of professional support, whether it’s getting them suited, assisting them in CV writing or interview skills.
They also have a 6-week work readiness programme which is geared to migrant women, for which Corr provides confidence and self-esteem coaching. “It can be emotionally disturbing when you hear those stories, but it’s also enriching knowing you are helping somehow.”
In some cases, women have lost their families, even children; others had to leave their countries so fast they couldn’t bring their certificates, nor access their records at universities which had been bombed. Corr calls the women she has worked with “very bright, educated, wonderful.” Of the 87 women who have participated in the programme so far, 53% have found employment as a result.
Corr is glad she volunteers: “It’s a great way to meet people, also other volunteers who tend to be like-minded. It really opens up your network.”