Fleeing war torn Syria for a better life: Reda’s experience

Fleeing war torn Syria for a better life: Reda’s experience

2 September 2023 Off By Georgia Cox

19 June 2023

With its roots in housing support for nearly 30 years, Connection Support are adept at supporting individuals experiencing homelessness – but that’s not all the charity does. Across three localities, Connection Support deliver specialist support to refugees and asylum seekers too.

The charity’s Refugee Resettlement team provides support to refugees resettling in the UK as part of the Central Government’s UK Resettlement Scheme and Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). The families supported live in the South and Vale and the Cherwell District areas of Oxfordshire, and are provided with a range of emotional and practical support to help them settle into everyday life. 

As part of this Government led initiative, Connection Support oversees the relocation process, from airport pick up through to the point where families can live independently and manage their tenancy without the need for support. The team connects the families to health services and mental health support, schools, English language classes, employment opportunities and local community groups. Working alongside volunteers, they also provide information about culture and life in Britain to enable the families make steps towards living a settled life in the UK.

Reda and his family are just one example.

Seeking refuge from Syria, Reda arrived in England with his wife and three-year-old daughter, and began receiving support from the charity immediately. Reda was looking for help that could support his adjustment to living in the UK, and wanted to find ways to learn English. After Reda enrolled on a course at a local college to learn the language, he spoke with his Support Worker, Isabelle, about becoming a barber. Isabelle introduced Reda to Nigel, a volunteer, and they discussed what could be done to help Reda on his chosen career path. 

When the two men met, they spoke about Reda’s long-term goals and Nigel supported Reda in approaching barbers across Oxford in a bid to find work experience; this encouraged Reda to develop both his language and interpersonal skills. The two men worked together to upskill Reda and develop his confidence, and he went on to complete 6 months’ work experience at a local barbers. Here, he was able to develop his English by speaking to customers, all whilst observing and learning the trade.

This was just the start for Reda. He went on to secure a trainee role in an Oxford based barbers shop. Working 4 days a week and doing 2-3 haircuts a day, it’s a busy time for him, but he’s enjoying every day. Looking ahead, Reda wants to continue learning English and further develop his barbering skills so that he can become a professional barber. His long-term ambition is to own a successful barber shop, ideally within the next four to five years.

Reda thanks Nigel for all his support, saying:

“Nigel is the best volunteer ever! He has been so positive and kind to me and provided support. I am so grateful to him for helping me. My wife and I have just welcomed a baby son, and I’m now excited for my family’s prospects here in the UK.”

After working with Reda, here’s what Nigel had to say:

“It’s very rewarding to me to see how far Reda has come, and it has been a pleasure working with him. He is intelligent, hardworking and has all the qualities he needs to succeed.”

For more information on our Refugee Resettlement Service, visit our website: https://www.connectionsupport.org.uk/services/all-refugee-resettlement-support/