A young joiner who came to the UK as a child refugee has been recognised as a positive role model for his hard work and determination in making a new life.
Christian Lufwa, 24, was highly commended in Yorkshire Housing’s Young Person of the Year Award for his dedication and hard work in gaining qualifications and securing a job.
He was nominated for the award by employment and benefits adviser, Imran Hussain. “I put Christian forward because of his back story, his resilience, determination and resolve,” he said. “He is a good role model for others.”
Lufwa was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in 2005 he came to the UK as a child refugee along with his four siblings after the outbreak of war in the African country. The children never knew their parents and were raised by their grandmother in Congo and later their aunt when they arrived in the UK.
“I migrated with my siblings when I was 10,” Lufwa said. “We lived with family in the UK until we were old enough to get our own house when my brother was 18.”
He finished school in 2010 and went on to do painting and decorating for two years before taking up an apprenticeship with Leeds City Council. After this, he completed his full training in carpentry and joinery with another company. When this ended, he received help and advice from Hussain to secure another job.
This included help with updating his CV and improving his interview skills. Now Lufwa, who lives in Wortley, has been working for Leeds City Council as a joiner for almost two years thanks to the help he received from the Yorkshire Housing team.
“It is great,” said Lufwa. “Joinery is a vast trade so there is a lot to learn. The Yorkshire Housing scheme is there to help people. I represent young people and I want to show them that there is help out there. Not all of us are into cars and chasing girls. It is about getting the right help and being given a chance. And if this happens, we will try and do something with our lives.”
His ambition now is to become a supervisor, and some day hopes to bring his grandmother to the UK from DRC. But further ahead, he sees his future in Congo.
“I see myself getting old and moving back to DRC,” he added. “Being here has given me the opportunity to further my education and as a young person you need help to be self-reliant and Yorkshire Housing has provided that. This is a way of helping myself and my family back home.”