About us Every face has a story: meet Hatun, the first Valeriana woman

Without her, there would be no Valeriana: Hatun was our first Valeriana woman and the reason why we can empower more and more people with a migration background and help them become more independent today.

Hatun, Valerianas first women

Hatun was born on 4 March 1957 in the small municipality of Elbistan in the Turkish province of Kahramanmaraş. At an early age, her parents took her and her two siblings and moved to a larger city, where she grew up and lived until her life pretty much turned upside down. In 1991, Hatun and her three little children had to flee to Switzerland for political reasons. Since then, Hatun has lived in St. Gallen. “St. Gallen is my city, a wonderful city”, she says in conversation with us. But the start was rather bumpy.

A bumpy start
Hatun has always been a self-confident woman who doesn’t like to sit still. Accordingly, she also wanted to start working again after arriving in Switzerland. In her old home, she had been working at a factory as a seamstress for several years and had acquired the relevant certificates. But in order to earn a good living as a seamstress in Switzerland, she needed a diploma. And getting this as a housewife and a mother without the relevant language skills proved to be more difficult than she had thought.

Hatun getting her certificate

How a needle and a thread changed everything
Luckily, she found support at the Women’s Centre in St. Gallen. There, she got help with finding her first job as a cleaner. She spent several hours every week helping two families with their household chores. At the same time, she scoured job ads and applied for every job she could find. She found a job at a day clinic and for 15 years she regularly cleaned the St. Gallen Migration and Passport Office. With her health no longer permitting the physical exhaustion of cleaning, Hatun fell into a deep hole. Once again, it became very difficult for her to find work — but she definitely did not want to just sit around at home. In the end, it was her family that came to her help. Salomé, the partner of Hatun’s son Bora, heard about her difficulties and came up with an idea: if she can’t find the right job for her, then someone would have to create it! With “Nadel & Faden” (Needle & Thread), she created a platform where Hatun could start offering her sewing skills — and the orders started pouring much sooner than expected. With her new task and regained productivity, Hatun thrived again! She immediately thought of other women in similar situations as her and who could also benefit from “Nadel & Faden”. Salomé didn’t hesitate. 

Valeriana — empowering people since 2019
In 2019, Valeriana was born out of this initial idea and has been supporting women like Hatun in successfully integrating into Switzerland and becoming financially independent ever since! And Hatun? Hatun continues to work with us as a seamstress and is delighted that more and more people are benefiting from working with Valeriana. “I think that Valeriana is very important for Switzerland and for the people”, she says. “Valeriana gives people with different nationalities work so that they can integrate better and enables women to earn their own money. This makes them more confident. I’m very grateful to the whole Valeriana team for this!”

To be continued:
  • Have you already met our employee Nardos?  No? Then come this way, please!
  • Here you can find out about our employee Embaba’s personal success story.

More to read

Hello, we are the Valeriana team.

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