Nasir’sjour­ney­tookhim­from So­ma­li­aandKil­lar­ney­toDkIT

FOR­MER ASY­LUM SEEKER AND DKIT GRAD­U­ATE GETS IR­ISH CITIZENSHIP

The Argus - - NEWS - By MAR­GARET RODDY

A refugee who fled war-torn So­ma­lia and has made his home in Dundalk, was one of 3,000 peo­ple who were con­ferred with Ir­ish citizenship at emo­tional cer­e­monies in the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Kil­lar­ney last week.

Nasir Yasir’s story is an amaz­ing one, which be­gan when he came to Ire­land while still a teenager to es­cape the civil war in So­ma­lia. And it’s a story which went full cir­cle as he vis­ited his old school while in Kil­lar­ney for last week’s cer­e­mony.

Hav­ing lived in di­rect pro­vi­sion cen­tres in four coun­ties, Nasir ful­filled his dream to qual­ify as a civil en­gi­neer, grad­u­at­ing from DkIT last year, and now lives in Dundalk with his wife and two young chil­dren.

‘When I first came to Ire­land in 2005, I claimed asy­lum in Dublin and I was trans­ferred to Kil­lar­ney by the De­part­ment of In­te­gra­tion Agency.’ re­calls Nasir. ‘I was liv­ing in a hos­tel named Park lodge in Park Road, Kil­lar­ney.’

He went to school in St. Bren­dan’s Col­lege Kil­lar­ney, and although he had lit­tle English, some of his teach­ers helped him be­come pro­fi­cient.

Af­ter com­plet­ing his Leav­ing Cert in 2007, Nasir wasn’t al­lowed to progress to third level ed­u­ca­tion as he was still an asy­lum seeker. His class­mates wrote to the De­part­ment of Jus­tice sup­port­ing his case to be granted refugee sta­tus but do no avail.

Hun­gry to con­tinue his stud­ies, Nasir re­quested a trans­fer to one of Nasir with his wife Sam­sam and chil­dren Mawaahib and Mo­hamed pic­tured af­ter the citizenship cer­e­mony in Kil­lar­ney.

the Di­rect Pro­vi­sion Cen­tres in Dublin in the hope of get­ting a schol­ar­ship to con­tinue his ed­u­ca­tion but this was re­fused.

He was, how­ever, trans­ferred to a hos­tel in Wick­low town where he stayed for a year. ‘I had with no hope of by ap­pli­ca­tion be­ing granted or get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion,’ he re­mem­bers.

In July 2008, the hos­tel in Wick­low was closed down and ev­ery­one liv­ing there were trans­ferred to the self-cater­ing fa­cil­ity at Car­roll Vil­lage.

This marked the be­gin­ning of a new chap­ter for Nasier, as he did a

QQI level 5 En­gi­neer­ing course at O Fi­aich In­sti­tute of Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion, as he re­fused to give up on his dream of purs­ing a ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing.

‘Each year I was hop­ing to be granted refugee sta­tus by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice so I could con­tinue my ed­u­ca­tion and I used to ap­ply the CAO ev­ery year just in case it came through.’

Even­tu­ally, seven years af­ter he first ar­rived in Ire­land, Nasir was granted the right to re­main in Ire­land on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds in July 2012.

‘I was re­ally ex­cited when I got my papers,’ he says. He was able to rent his own flat, opt­ing to re­main with the Car­roll Vil­lage Com­plex. But more im­por­tan, he says: ‘I got the right to ac­cess ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing in the same man­ner and to as an Ir­ish ci­ti­zen.’

Nasir fi­nally be­gan study­ing for his dream course of civil en­gi­neer­ing at DkIT, grad­u­at­ing last year. He now works as a civil en­gi­neer in a lo­cal firm in Dundalk.

It was dur­ing his sec­ond year in col­lege that he met his wife Sam­sam, who is also from So­ma­lia.

‘My wife has played a big role in my life and in my hap­pi­ness and in my suc­cess, to me she is not just my wife. She is the mother of my kids, she is my best friend.’

The cou­ple have two chil­dren, their daugh­ter Mawaahib who was born in Our Lady of Lour­des Hos­pi­tal hos­pi­tal in 2015 and son Mo­hamed who is 2 years old.

In Septem­ber Nasir got a let­ter tell- ing him that he was be­ing granted Ir­ish citizenship, and in a re­mark­able twist of fate, the cer­e­mony was be­ing held in Kil­lar­ney, where he had lived when he first came to Ire­land and where he went to school in St Bren­dan’s Col­lege.

He took the op­por­tu­nity of trav­el­ling to Kil­lar­ney for the cer­e­mony to show his fam­ily his ‘ beloved pre­vi­ous town.

‘I showed them the hos­tel I lived in and the school I at­tended. I took them to Kil­lar­ney Na­tional Park and the wa­ter­falls where I used to cy­cle and climb ev­ery­day dur­ing the sum­mer time.’

He also vis­ited St Bren­dan’s school, where he met with prin­ci­pal Ed O’Neill, who was de­lighted to wel­come him back to the school. Nasir has been in­vited back to give a talk to the stu­dents about his ex­pe­ri­ence.

Now that he has been granted Ir­ish citizenship, it’s his deep­est hope that he will be al­lowed bring his mother and sib­lings to live in Ire­land through the Ir­ish Refugee Pro­tec­tion Pro­gramme Hu­man­i­tar­ian Ad­mis­sion Pro­gramme.

This pro­gramme al­lows Ir­ish cit­i­zens and peo­ple with refugee sta­tus who have el­i­gi­ble fam­ily mem­bers from the top 10 ma­jor source coun­tries of refugees, to ap­ply to the Min­is­ter for Jus­tice and Equal­ity for these fam­ily mem­bers to join them in Ire­land.

De­spite hav­ing lost touch with his fam­ily many times since com­ing to Ire­land, Nasir has man­aged to find out where they are now. But he fears they might have to flee and leave their homes due to con­flict, hunger and drought in So­ma­lia.

‘Also the Is­lamist armed group AlShabab has threat­ened and ab­ducted civil­ians which has forced many peo­ple to flee their homes,’ he says.

‘It would re­ally change my life to be able to bring them here.’

Nasir is ex­tremely grate­ful to all those who have helped him since he first came to Ire­land and to the Ir­ish gov­ern­ment for grant­ing citizenship.

I GOT THE RIGHT TO AC­CESS ED­U­CA­TION AND TRAIN­ING IN THE SAME MAN­NER AND TO AS AN IR­ISH CI­TI­ZEN

Nasir Yasir (sec­ond left) fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at Dundalk In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy where he ob­tained a de­gree in Civil En­gi­neer­ing.

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