Irish Examiner

Syrian siblings loving life in Lismore

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Syrian brother and sister, Aram Wahhoud, 30, and Marwa, 31, who have resettled in Lismore, Co Waterford, say they have felt incredibly welcome since their arrival just over four months ago.

Aram, a visual artist, painter, sculptor, and puppeteer, has been invited to take part in a major poetry festival in Lismore next summer.

“I met some local poets this week and they have invited my puppet, who is a poet, to read some of his own poetry next August. I am really looking forward to that,” he says.

Marwa, who worked in public relations, is working with her brother on the promotion of the event and also exploring other job opportunit­ies.

They have thrown themselves fully into local life and were involved recently in the preparatio­n of a pop-up charity shop in the town.

Lynne Glasscoe, head of the Lismore Welcome Project, says the siblings are now part and parcel of the community.

“And most importantl­y, they are welcomed,” she says.

Ms Glasscoe was among a group of local people who were already supporting refugees based at the Clonea emergency reception and orientatio­n centre, near Dungarvan.

“When this Community

Sponsorshi­p pilot project came up, we seemed like the obvious group to ask would we consider doing it for Lismore.

“It is very much a grassroots approach — fundraisin­g, organising, finding accommodat­ion, making sure it was suitable, making links with schools and medical services, many of the things that were previously done by the State — but then layering all the social aspects on top of that as well.”

“It is very much a grass-roots approach — fundraisin­g, finding accommodat­ion, making links with schools and medical services, things that were previously done by the State

 ?? Picture: Dan Linehan ?? Aram Wahhoud and his sister Marwa from Syria who are now living in Lismore, Co Waterford, as part of the Community Sponsorshi­p Programme run by the Department of Justice.
Picture: Dan Linehan Aram Wahhoud and his sister Marwa from Syria who are now living in Lismore, Co Waterford, as part of the Community Sponsorshi­p Programme run by the Department of Justice.

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