‘Britain has accepted you’: what it’s like to be a resettled Syrian refugee

The Batous family describe their warm welcome after they were moved from Turkey to Gedling in Nottinghamshire

Manal Rwaeh with her sons Ihab, 11, and Bilal,

In February 2016, Manal Rwaeh was sitting in a Turkish language class in Antakya when her phone flashed with a call from a private number. Like the other Syrian refugees in the class, Rwaeh always kept her phone on her desk in case a call came with news that she had been offered a place in a resettlement scheme.

“They said: ‘Britain has accepted you,’” said Rwaeh. “I went back to the class and I told the teacher: there’s no need to learn Turkish now!”

When Rwaeh returned home that evening, she played a practical joke on her family, telling them they would be resettled in Hungary.

“I chose a country that I know that they don’t like … and I told them: this is the country that has accepted us. They were shocked. Then I finally told them [the truth] and they started to jump on me and kiss me.”

And so, last November, Rwaeh, 40, her husband Amjad Batous, 46, and their three sons – Ahmad, 17, Bilal, 14, and Ihab, 11 – arrived in Gedling, five miles from Nottingham, a city they only knew from the Robin Hood stories.

They are in a sense the lucky ones – five of the 6,000 who have been resettled in Britain so far under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement programme, a scheme that relocates Syrian refugees to Britain from Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon, where an estimated 4.8 million of them live.

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Source By https://www.theguardian.com

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