Ahmed, a construction worker in Syria, made the extremely difficult decision to leave after his neighbour’s house was destroyed by bombs leaving his wife and children buried under the rubble in November 2012. Fortunately, they were all rescued unhurt. Neighbours’ houses were also destroyed by what he explained as ‘planes no driver’ - Military Drones. Ahmed explained that he had a disagreement with the ISIS militia and would not comply with what they wanted so they tried to kill him.
Ahmed was extremely concerned about his wife and five children and desperately wanted to get them out of Syria. Having taken the trip to the UK, Ahmed knew the trip wouldn’t be safe for them; his daughter was only two years old at the time. He had very little contact with his family, the phone systems were all down due to the war and Ahmed could only get in contact via his sister (who lived in another village). It could be up to a month before he would hear back from them.
Ahmed approached the Red Cross about their family reunion scheme and he was delighted when his wife and children were able to be flown out to safety in Liverpool. The family resided in the Belvidere Family Centre, jointly run by The Whitechapel Centre and Shap, until they were able to access a four bedroom property with help from Liverpool City Council Housing Options Service rent/bond scheme.
Ahmed was unable to find work because of language barriers and was without income for 17 weeks. The Whitechapel Centre helped Ahmed’s wife access a National Insurance number so that they could put for in a joint application for Job Seekers Allowance, child benefit and child tax credits.
The Whitechapel Centre also accessed school places locally for Ahmed’s children and assisted him with moving into another more manageable privately rented property. At the same time Ahmed was assisted with registering for affordable housing, and his family is now living in property with a social landlord; a more affordable option whilst Ahmed is working part-time.
Ahmed currently works as a driver because his English is not yet to the level required for the Construction sector, however it is greatly improved. Ahmed wants to be in full-time employment; he wants to be working and contributing. He can speak good basic English and is learning to write. He has attended ESOL classes and his wife is due to start soon. All the children are in local schools and the oldest two have excellent English.
Ahmed and his family love Liverpool and say this is their home now. The conflict at home is of grave concern due to loved ones still being there, but he knew it was not safe for him or his family to remain in Syria.
Help us to do more. Visit our Christmas Appeal page and donate now