NAME: Ayfer Orhan
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
CITY: Den Bosch
NATIONALITY: Turkish+ Dutch
BACKGROUND: Master Economy and University degree in Law
POSITION: Owner, Lawyer immigration laws
My Background and Career
Since 2014, when I had 35 years of age, I have started my own law practice in immigration laws. I am present at a lot of hearings at the court and I am also advising in ‘short-stay-visa’ for residence permits for Dutch people with a foreign partner. You can say, that I upgraded on my own merits. I worked hard and studied, combining it with voluntary actions for the Kurd and other organisations of immigrants. So there is my big network. When I was 13/14, I came from Kurdistan to the Netherlands. I was too old for primary school, so I followed Dutch courses for adults. Not an easy language though... I still sometimes feel it an handicap! I also speak English, Turkish, Kurd and German. After secondary school of economics I studied law at the university. Although my professors often asked me ‘is not that a too high level for you’? I said NO, I am not satisfied with just secondary level. I want to let my dreams come true! Immigrant women really do not want to sit at home with their children.
When you feel busy, busy, busy, that does not mean you are earning enough money. My line of work ask a lot of research. Slowly my law practice goes better and better. We found our place under the sun, but that took some time. My secretaries organise my agenda planning and my bookkeeping. I have known a lot of fear, when taking the step to self employment, mainly caused by the fact, I am not born in an entrepreneurial family
I like to combine my commercial activities in my firm with voluntary work. Also in my work and life I am looking for balance. All my leisure time goes to my daughter of 6 years old. I am happy having support from my core family, also living here. And support of other female entrepreneurs as the Turkish network of female lawyers in Europe, also doing voluntary work for immigrant foundations. Next year I am going for a further study on asylum rights and I will attend a mediator course. Then my firm can develop to a sort of ‘brand’. Something like: General legal services for Kurds and other ‘foreigners’ .
Hints & Tips
• Do have confidence in yourself. Set a ‘dot on the horizon’ and work to that goal.
• Dare to take steps. Nobody can give you guarantees. But even, if you happen not to succeed, you can learn al lot out of it. The next time will be better!
• Let your dreams come true. Take them serious, despite obstacles on your path