‘ We have made friends and feel at home now’


Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By LAURA HART­LEY

Dina and Aseel El Haj News Reporter TWO sis­ters who fled war- torn Su­dan have spo­ken about their new life in Coven­try.

Dina, aged 19, and 18- year- old Aseel El Haj ar­rived in Coven­try last June af­ter es­cap­ing the civil war, geno­cide and famine that is rife in Su­dan.

They ar­rived in the city in June 2016, couldn’t speak a word of English and had no friends.

The sis­ters faced the chal­lenges head on - and are study­ing to go to univer­sity.

Aseel said: “When we came here we couldn’t speak any English.

“If some­one spoke to us, we couldn’t un­der­stand any­thing.

“We are get­ting used to it now.

“We like Coven­try. We are study­ing in Leam­ing­ton and liv­ing in Coven­try.

“There are so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple here.”

When the girls first ar­rived in Coven­try, they had spent their school years work­ing through the night some­times to study, with lit­tle chance of go­ing to univer­sity af­ter.

How­ever now they’ve set­tled in Coven­try, they have a bright fu­ture ahead of them, and are ex­cep­tion­ally good at pick­ing up the English lan­guage.

Aseel said: “When we came here we did en­rol in col­lege. We did short cour­ses to get used to the lan­guage. “It is a bit dif­fer­ent from Su­dan to here. We didn’t use com­put­ers there so when we first moved here, it was re­ally hard. “We had ex­ams over there ev­ery three months, whereas here we just have as­sign­ments. “To study for the ex­ams we would work through the night, and some­times work from 11pm un­til 4am. “We’ve made a few friends on our course so we feel at home now.” The girls were study­ing hard in a coun­try which was rid­den with war. They lived sev­eral hours from the trou­ble, but it was never far from their minds. But they still worked hard to give them­selves the best fu­ture. Dina said: “I want to do nurs­ing. I like help­ing peo­ple and I want to go to univer­sity.” Aseel added: “First I wanted to be a nurse but now want to be a so­cial worker be­cause I had a lot of peo­ple that helped me have in­spired me and I want to be like them. “A lot of bad things hap­pened in Su­dan but now I feel like now I can pro­vide a fu­ture for my­self.” The sis­ters have had help and sup­port from the Coven­try Refugee and Mi­grant Cen­tre. They’ve been given the sup­port to get on cour­ses which can kick start their ca­reer. A lot of bad things hap­pened in Su­dan but now I feel like I can pro­vide a fu­ture for my­self. As­sel El Haj

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