Abir shares her story during the Launch of the Refugee Week

Abir at the Launch of Refugee week in Belfast with Ronnie. Ronnie was her key worker and a refugee himself.

By Maximpact

Norther Ireland, Belfast, June 17, 2019

Maximpact’s Fast Track to Employment and Social Integration Programme for Refugees is designed to address existing barriers to employment and social inclusion through provision of online English language classes and support into employment.

One of our graduates is Abir – a young Syrian refugee, who, along with her mother and two of her brothers was forced to leave their home in June 2016 and start a new life in the Northern Ireland. When arriving in Northern Ireland Abir and her family found many challenges in settling into their new lives. Abir was invited to share the story of her journey at the Launch of Refugee week at the Grand Opera House in Belfast on Monday 17 June.

“My name is Abir I am from Syria.

Today I would like to share my experience of living in Northern Ireland for the last three years as a 22 year old refugee. I was part of the third group which it arrived from Syria in June 2016 with my mum and two brothers.

When we first arrived it was hard to adapt to life as everything had changed. The culture, new language, living far from other family members, and especially starting our life from nothing were all challenges we faced – like any refugees or people who live far from their native country. In the first three months when we arrived, I was really upset thinking about what happened in Syria and my other brothers who are now all separated from my mum and I and are now living in different countries. 

I couldn’t adapt that quickly living here in Ireland until I learnt some English. English helps me talk with people, make appointments with the doctor, and read posts. We were getting help from our key worker for everything we needed for the first five months.  After that we had to do everything ourselves, it was good experience and made us learn more and more.

I have registered at the college to learn English and day by day my English was improving and I felt life getting easier. I’m now still discovering new things about this country and learning how to deal with people – it’s a different culture. The people are really friendly, helpful and kind, they never let me feel that I am different from them. I have now found the online English class by Maximpact and this helps me to improve my English a lot, at the same time helping me look for a good job to make progress in my life.

I know I can’t reach the summit good things take time. Life here has taught me how to be strong, patient and how to go step-by-step to achieve my dreams. I wish I could be good example of my country and become a good citizen for here. Finally I would like to send my thanks for everyone who stood with us, your efforts with us will make results soon..”

As one of our huge success stories, Maximpact is incredibly proud of how hard Abir has worked to achieve her goals thus far and to further her education. Abir is a great example to her fellow Syrian refugees and Abir hopes to help others in a similar position to herself.

Contact [email protected] to find out more about our programme.

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