This week is Refugee Week – an opportunity to celebrate people who are seeking safety in the UK, to recognise their achievements and creativity, alongside further developing an understanding of the many reasons people are forced to flee their homes, and the challenges they face upon arriving here. We would like to share Soran and Ali’s stories who came to Community Campus ’87 as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Soran was an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (aged 16) when he was referred to CC87 for accommodation and support by Middlesbrough Children’s Services. He had been in the country for just three months, had little understanding of English and understandably apprehensive about moving into a shared property in unfamiliar surroundings with new people. Soran enrolled at Middlesbrough College for an ESOL course and quickly learned the language. He engaged well with his housing and support worker and would ask for help whenever it was needed. As Soran’s grasp of English increased so did his confidence and ability to do things for himself; managing his accommodation in an exemplary manner, and achieving all of his milestones at college and generally being more independent with less contact time with his housing and support worker.
Soran moved into his own tenancy with CC87, a step before moving into private rented or social housing, this provided new challenges of being responsible for bills himself, managing a budget, maintain a property himself and being a good neighbour. Soran was now over 18 and had little support from the local authority and relied on CC87 staff to ensure he managed this transition successfully.
Soran is now housed in a Thirteen property, he is working full-time and continuing to study at college. He has learnt to drive and purchased a car and has recently got married in Iraq and is saving sufficient money in order that he meets the government threshold for bringing his wife to the UK. Soran has now brought his wife to this country after working night and day to earn money to meet the financial threshold to allow her to come.
Ali was 17 when he was referred to CC87 by Hartlepool Children Services as part of a protocol with CC87 and Thirteen to accommodate asylum seeking children. He had fled war torn Sudan as he was being pressurised to join one of the army factions in his local region.
Ali’s grasp of the English language was still very limited and communication was initially managed by interpreters, flash cards and mobile phone apps. Ali was enrolled on an ESOL course at the local college to improve his understanding of English, he went on to gain his GCSE in English and Maths and completed an Electrical Engineering course.
Ali was very motivated to help others, he volunteered within the local refugee community translating for individuals and organisations, and became involved in the local community playing football for a local Sunday league side.
Ali responded positively to the support that was provided ensuring he was able to access appropriate cultural amenities and food shops, health services, education and benefits. His accommodation was well maintained and by the time Ali left our accommodation he was managing independently of the service. Ali is now living in Newcastle studying Aviation Engineering at Newcastle College – we are very proud of what he has already achieved.
We have had a recent update from Ali, he is enjoying his Aviation Course in Newcastle and is waiting for his exam results.
We are very proud of Soran and Ali and wish them well for their future.