Refugees thank town for such a warm wel­come

Syr­ian fam­i­lies ex­press their grat­i­tude

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

The two Syr­ian refugee fam­i­lies who came to Ruther­glen last year have thanked the peo­ple of the Burgh for wel­com­ing them into the area.

Speak­ing to the coun­cil’s own free pub­li­ca­tion, The Reporter, fam­ily mem­bers ex­pressed their grat­i­tude to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The Re­former was given an ex­clu­sive first look at the in­ter­view with the par­ents, all of whom wished to re­main anony­mous.

One fe­male, known only as ‘R’, said: “Peo­ple here are smil­ing ev­ery time and they help us.

“Peo­ple here are very good. All peo­ple in Ruther­glen are good, friendly and help­ful.

“Ev­ery time, they smile and say ‘hi’. Our neigh­bours are very nice and they gave us Christ­mas cards.

“We are happy here. Happy and safe, es­pe­cially for the chil­dren. They like school very much and they learn English, num­bers, the colours, about the body. They make friends and they play too.”

Both fam­i­lies spent years of dis­com­fort in a Le­banese refugee camp be­fore be­ing flown to Scot­land in De­cem­ber.

They were the first of 60 refugees ex­pected to be housed in South La­nark­shire.

De­scrib­ing the sit­u­a­tion back in the middle east­ern coun­try, R said: “Be­fore the war life was good in Syria.

“It was very nice be­fore the con­flict. But then it turned bad.”

R’s hus­band, ‘A’, added: “We had to leave and went to Le­banon.

“We lived with many other fam­i­lies in a shared build­ing.

“It was very bad, as you need a lot of money to live, for a room and to shop. But you are not al­lowed to work, and if work, very lit­tle money.”

The fam­i­lies have been set­tled within a short walk of one an­other and four of the five chil­dren are en­rolled at a lo­cal pri­mary school and nurs­ery.

While they are still get­ting used to the coun­try, they have en­joyed a num­ber of ex­cur­sions, in­clud­ing tak­ing in Ruther­glen Town Hall.

When asked if there’s any­thing they don’t like, R laughs: “The rain. Ev­ery time - rain, rain, rain!”

An­drea Sin­clair, who has been work­ing with the two fam­i­lies in her role as the coun­cil’s Syr­ian Vul­ner­a­ble Per­son Re­set­tle­ment ad­vi­sor, said: “Work­ing with them over the past few months has been ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing but also in­cred­i­bly hum­bling.

“The re­silience that the fam­i­lies have, first of all leav­ing ev­ery­thing be­hind in Syria, liv­ing within a refugee camp and fi­nally hav­ing the strength to move to a coun­try where the lan­guage, cul­ture and en­vi­ron­ment is to­tally dif­fer­ent, shows that they are strong peo­ple who have the courage to move where re­quired for the sake of their fam­ily.”

Coun­cil leader, Ed­die McAvoy added: “We ex­pect a to­tal of 12 to 15 fam­i­lies, around 60 peo­ple in to­tal, will come to South La­nark­shire in the next year.

“Hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions will be in­volved in help­ing us house the refugees, and I am sure they will all re­ceive a good Scots wel­come in their new com­mu­ni­ties.”

The full in­ter­view will be in the next edi­tion of the Reporter.

We are happy here. Happy and safe, es­pe­cially for the chil­dren

Warm wel­come Refugees based in La­nark­shire en­joyed a re­cent wel­come event at the La­nark­shire Mus­lim Wel­fare So­ci­ety

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