Syrian refugees in Dundee give back to the community

Syrian refugees in Dundee
Syrian refugees helping out at the Taught by Muhammmad community cafe in Dundee [SOURCE: The Courier]

Syrian refugees in Dundee are volunteering for local charities to support the homeless and deprived.

Warmed by the humanitarian welcome they have received since fleeing their war torn country, and surrounding refugees camps, Syrian refugees in Dundee have joined various local charities including Taught by Muhammad– an outreach project which aims to build understanding between Muslims in the city and the wider community.

One of the refugees, Thamer Humsi, has been in Dundee for eight months and said the Yusuf Youth Initiative which runs the project has helped him become part of the wider community.

Thamer, who is a farmer, said: “I believe that if it hadn’t been for the group I wouldn’t feel as confident and included in Dundee as I do. “Dundee is a beautiful city and the people are wonderful.

“We have been welcomed with open arms by the people of Dundee and we want to continue to play a part in life in this city.

“I want to feel part of the community and contribute to life here.

“The project has been a great support to me and has helped the refugees to integrate into the Scottish community.”

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Tayseer Al-Balkhi arrived in Dundee only a week ago.

He said: “The situation here is far better than we faced in Lebanon.

“There has been a very positive welcome in Dundee and the hospitality has been great. The project has arranged hot meals for us and has given us groceries. Now we want to do what we can to pay everyone back.”

The UK aims to resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020.
The UK aims to resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020.

Imaad Zakariya arrived in Dundee only last week. “This is a very positive experience for us,” he said. “Dundee is a very nice and beautiful city.”

Rizwan Rafik, of Taught by Muhammad, said the men had all been through an emotional roller coaster on their journey to Dundee.

He said: “We have been able to help them and now they want to support the work we do. They volunteered to work in the support cafe and they have told me they love it.

“They said they wanted to give something back to the people of Dundee.”

Refugee support worker Vali Hussein said: “Support cafes like this are key in helping refugees settle into their new lives. It empowers them and helps them learn English, something the refugees are keen to do. By working closely with us they’re getting that opportunity.”

In the last week, 120 more Syrian refugees arrived in Scotland, taking the Scottish total to 1,000 and comprising of over a third of all Syrian refugees taken into the UK since 2015 under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

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