After fleeing war in their own country and exchanging life in refugee camps for new lives in Stratford on Avon 'our' Syrian families have become a valuable part of our community. In large part the success of this transition was due to the considerable efforts of our town's 'Welcome Here' group who offered the new-comers friendship, time and practical support. Some members of our Amnesty group joined Stratford Welcome Here and we have been proud to support their efforts in any way possible and applaud the sacrifice of time they have made.
This is Sozan's story:
Sozan Mehi. She arrived in the UK on 12/3/19
'Why did I leave Syria? It could be a simple question, but when I ask myself, a stream of painful memories passes in front of my eyes! Even if the reason is simple, it is difficult to leave our birth home and childhood place, it is more difficult to be forced to leave because of war and devastation.
When I immigrated from Syria to Iraq, I was twelve years old, it was not easy. I thought that I would have a safe and beautiful life in Iraq, but it was not what I expected, living in tents for seven years, I think that no one wishes a life as this! It was hard to belong and adapt, even though I tried so hard. However, almost two years ago, we received a call from the United Nations Refugee Organization, informing us that we had been chosen to resettlement in United Kingdom. Well I started to feel the happiness of that at moment while I am writing now. But yes, it was the most beautiful news, I have heard in my life as if the door to Heaven had been opened for me and my family! I felt like the luckiest person in the world. Oh my naivety, I feel like I am exaggerating my feelings for that moment, but it’s the truth.
When we landed at the British airport, I felt as if I was born again and the smile did not leave my face, although the weather was very cold and the wind was strong but my joy overcame me.
Since my first days in Britain, I received support from everyone here. Many people helped us. We did not feel that we were immigrants. They made us feel that we were one of them. We received love, pleasant smiles and kindness.
I thank everyone who helped us, welcomed us and gave us a new opportunity to live a peaceful life. Thank you.'
Click here to find out more about Amnesty International's work in Syria
You can follow Welcome Here Stratford on Avon on Facebook or Twitter @SUAwelcomehere