South Downs Refugee Project has applied to the Home Office to sponsor the settlement of a refugee family in our village. Whilst we await determination of our application, we’ll take a look at other aspects of the refugee situation. Today, we share Yaser’s story
“My name is Yaser and I am from Syria where I was politically active but I had to flee to England when things became too hot for me. That was twenty years ago when I was 26. Arriving here I knew not a word of English but I set about learning the language and got a job as a waiter as soon as I was allowed to work. I always took whatever work was available while continuing my English studies and also continuing to campaign against the Syrian regime. I obtained my UK passport in 2006 and support from local charities allowed me to go to university and qualify as an ESOL teacher. I now work in Hastings on various resettlement programmes to help/advise refugees and asylum seekers. I have integrated into the local community and have many English friends.
I came and spoke to the vigil in Brighton when, with a heavy heart, I heard the devastating news of the deaths of 27 refugees in the Channel. Refugees do not want to leave their home countries but are forced to flee conflict or persecution. Once here they are keen to work, improve themselves and make a good life here for their families and I am angry at the hostile environment that refugees now face, the relentless stream of racist propaganda.
I was pleased to hear about the SDRP about refugees, a fantastic group of volunteers working hard to welcome a refugee family into the community/ This sort of project is great for the community, helping refugees to integrate and helping the community to learn about a new culture. People then start to build friendships, support each other and value each other’s contribution to the local community.”
If you can support the work of the South Downs Refugee Project, please see our Get Involved page.
Yaser was speaking with Jeremy Weinstein, Volunteer Coordinator for SDRP.