Category: Refugee services

“We are a family again”: Syrian refugees start a new life in Glasgow

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Syrian refugees now living in Glasgow, Mohamed, Amina and their five children stand togather and smile at the camera

Mohamed, Amina and their children © Emma Levy/British Red Cross

“We are a family again.”

Amina smiled as she described how it felt to be reunited with her husband Mohamed after years of being apart.

“The children were always asking about their dad.

“I sometimes didn’t know how to explain our situation to them. It was very difficult. I felt I wasn’t living – I was just existing.”

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“In the UK there is humanity”: how a young man is building hope for the future

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Three teenage boys play Jenga, a game in which they build a tabletop tower out of wooden blocks, at a group for refugees

A Surviving to thriving project group for young refugees © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Seventeen-year-old Hama* prefers not to talk about being forced to flee his home country of Iraq.

Instead, his focus is on his new life in the UK.

“Arriving in the UK, I was born again,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. There is a lot of badness in my country but in the UK there is humanity.”

Hama came to the UK from Calais last year. He was one of the unaccompanied children transferred here when the “Jungle” camp closed.

Arriving in a new and unfamiliar country was a strange and exciting experience for him.

“I saw the cars drive on the opposite side of the road from my country. It was different and a bit strange for me. That was the sign that I knew I’m in England now. I will never forget that moment.”

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Living with loneliness as a refugee

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With all the stigma and stress refugees and asylum seekers face, loneliness is not seen as an obvious problem. It is.

There are many reasons refugees and asylum seekers experience loneliness. They have to contend with language barriers and cultural differences and are often separated from family and friends. They also often lack the income to be socially involved.

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No money for milk: the new mums neglected by UK asylum system

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woman holding toddler

© Chris Leslie

They say everything changes overnight.

All of a sudden there’s a new person in the world. Your person. A little boy or girl that makes your every other care melt away.

It’s supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, and for most new mothers the experience is exactly that.

But what of those women in the UK’s asylum system? How does motherhood treat them?

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Together at last: Syrian father reunited with his son in Heathrow

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Khaled and son

© Philip Coburn / Mirror 2016

Tens of thousands of people arrive at London Heathrow every day. Recently the Channel 4 documentary, Arrivals, told the story of Khaled, a Syrian refugee who met his son at the airport after a year apart. The British Red Cross helped to reunite father and son in emotional scenes. This is their story.

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