My name is Aead, and I am a refugee from Syria.
Before coming to the UK, I lived in Jordan for six years and two months with my wife and three children – we had to leave Syria because of the war. The situation in Jordan for refugees is very challenging – aid is sparse, rent is expensive, and it’s difficult to access full-time education for children, as well as healthcare. The Syrian refugee children who do take classes are taught for three hours a day, once the school day has ended for residents. Private hospitals are very expensive, and public medical centres struggle to provide much-needed care for all.
During my time in Jordan, I was waiting for any opportunity to leave our difficult circumstances. So when I was contacted by UNHCR with the chance to relocate to the UK, I agreed and took the necessary steps to move. I arrived in Britain on 26th February 2019, almost three and a half years ago.
Since I got here with my family, I am lucky to say that my circumstances have been good on all fronts – we’re grateful to have education and healthcare, and to know our children are going to school and learning. When we first arrived the main obstacle was learning the language, however we got a lot of help from different organisations and we are thankful for their help. I am still learning English slowly, but my children have all become fluent!
As a baker, I was able to find a job in a local restaurant which bakes its own goods. I worked in the kitchen chopping vegetables for the first two years, and have recently been assigned to work in their new bakery. I am also slowly improving my English on the job.
We’re thankful to have been able to relocate to a safe place, far from the problems we faced daily. However, for us, the biggest hardship we carry is thinking of the struggles faced by the loved ones we left behind. My parents and siblings remain in Jordan, and their circumstances are extremely difficult. I tried my best to bring them over here, however the current processes for this are very hard, and traveling there to visit is not an option.
For me, the most important task at hand is helping those who remain in turmoil – whether in their home country or in refugee camps – to find their way to safe and dignified lives. For a generation of child refugees without access to education, the future is squandered. They are often working in the streets from age six or seven.
For my children, adapting to our new life has been tough. We miss the warmth of our relatives, neighbours, and old friends. Being in the UK has been a blessing, but we also cannot but think of the people we love, who are still struggling every day.
Still, I’m incredibly thankful that my children are safe here in the UK. My children are my home, and it warms my heart to see my three kids; Oday, Muammar, and Mohammed happy and doing great in school.
I would like to say a special thank you to Aberaid, an organisation which helped me and my family with both psychological and social support. I’m also grateful to the kind people of Great Britain, and to UK for UNHCR for the work it does in supporting refugees, and in helping us tell our stories.
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