Contributed by The Black Country and Birmingham Refugee and Migrant Centre
As part of Refugee Week 2020 we have asked various organisations and individuals to share their stories, artwork, poetry, creative writing and film to celebrate the contribution of refugees past and present to Walsall.
Here we have the success story of Syrian refugee who settled here in 2017 submitted by The Black Country and Birmingham Refugee and Migrant Centre.
Escaping war and persecution in his homeland, having just completed his law degree, Khaled Al Hussein, from Syria arrived in the UK in June 2017 with his family seeking sanctuary. Unable to speak English, his wife was heavily pregnant and the father had been forced into hard labour to ensure his family survived whilst in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Khaled said: “When I first arrived in the UK, I was still angry about losing my home, about having to move to somewhere I did not know and angry about feeling powerless. “When you want to provide for your family and make sure they are safe having to depend on another people’s support for everything is very difficult.”
Supported by The Refugee and Migrant Centre’s (Black Country and Birmingham) (RMC) Walsall branch and its resettlement team – part of the Governments Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) - arrangements for Khaled and his family’s support were made prior to arrival.
One day after arriving in Walsall, his wife was supported to access maternity care and the entire family were also given health checks by a GP. Just two days later Khaleed attended his first English class, barely missing a session since; apart from when his second child was born. Khaled and his family have continued to fully engage with RMC and other local service and support providers such as Walsall College.
The father of two was bestowed with the best English student in the community award, having successfully passed all his exams. He continues to study community interpreting, maths and has already completed a module in vehicle maintenance. He has also obtained a first aid qualification, full UK driving licence and volunteers at RMC Walsall, supporting caseworkers and reception.
Khaled plans to continue his work part time as an interpreter whilst progressing into further education. His aim is to obtain a UK law degree so that his previous Syrian qualification is recognised