Kansan down on her luck finds job, shelter after Uber ride

Kansas

WICHITA (KSNT) – A Wichita woman credits an Uber driver for helping her get back on her feet following a series of unfortunate events.

“I call her angel,” said Naz Serikova, a Wichita woman. Serikova, 32, said her husband kicked her and her 18-month-old daughter out of their home in September of 2019.

“That time, I was pregnant,” Serikova said. “My pregnancy was like six months, and he just kick us out, and we don’t have nobody else in United States.”

Serikova, a Khazastan native, found herself on the street with only $100 in her pocket. After two days at a hotel, she was broke. The then 29-year-old called area shelters, but she didn’t have any luck due to a language barrier. That’s when she called for an Uber.

“I explain my situation, she (Uber driver) said ‘oh, let’s call’ and from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. she call all shelter, help me everything,” Serikova explained.

Serikova said the Uber driver was able to get in her contact with a domestic violence shelter. There, she found housing and a new job at Wichita’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).

“Here at Wichita WIN, we work with survivors of domestic violence to get them back employed in the community and give them transferable skills,” said Wichita WIN Executive Director Amber Beck.

WIN recently started a new partnership with Atlas Traps, a clay shooting equipment manufacturer in Benton, Kan.

“The women make 11 different variations of the wire that are on those traps that go around the world,” Beck explained.

Serikova is one of the women working on the manufacturing and wiring project. She said at first the task was somewhat intimidating.

“First, when I saw this, I stayed on the corner. I told myself, ‘no, I never will do that because it is so hard for me,” Serikova said. “I thought like that, but when they showed me, they teach me how to do it. It’s not so hard to do.”

“For the women, it’s a way that they get to learn something new. It’s something they can take ownership and say, ‘I did that. I was able to do something that went around the world, which is pretty cool and just able to gain those skills and take them to their next employer,” Beck said.

Serikova said WIN has given her the confidence to pursue her dreams. “I feel myself here, very comfortable. I can do, I can realize all my dreams, learn something new, and this place has supported me a lot,” she said.

Serikova’s success story is one of many. WIN serves about 45 women each year, giving them employment opportunities as well as computer training and case management.

“The women who leave WIN accept, on average, jobs about $13 to $14 an hour based on the skills that they were able to acquire here and most of them leave with benefits, so we have found that women who have gotten skills in manufacturing are able to gain jobs at like Spirit and Textron and Johnson Control,” Beck said. “So we really want to provide that independence that they need to be able to gain and take care of their family.”

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