From Syria to Scotland

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East Renfrewshire Council hosted an evening with the Syrian community who spoke about their experience of travelling to Scotland and the life they have built in their new towns and villages.

The event was held as part of week long programme marking Holocaust Memorial Day and comes after East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire Council jointly hosted the national memorial event at Eastwood Park Theatre.

Telling their tales of coming from Syria to Scotland was Tahani (32) and Rachid (14).

Tahani had sought asylum in Egypt before coming to Scotland in November 2016; she is currently attending West College Scotland and studying for an ESOL (English as second or other language) and care course.

Rachid is a second year pupil at Barrhead High School, having arrived in Scotland from Lebanon in December 2015.

Community Services and Community Safety Convener, Councillor Colm Merrick said: “When most of us think of home, we think of a secure place, a safe place and a happy place. That is why we say “Home is where the heart is”.

“While most of us sit safely within our homes, we are only aware of the experience of those torn from home for short moments via the media, so hearing from these brave people first hand is especially harrowing.

“I want to thank our families and residents from the Barrhead community for coming to this event and telling their stories. Our aim is for our communities to provide a place where our friends, who have been torn from home, can feel secure and at ease once again – effectively to help create a home from home.

“It is extremely important that we continue to listen to the stories told by Tahani, Rachid and their community to help ensure lessons are learnt and future generations aren’t torn from home and suffer the way they have.”

The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day was ‘Torn from Home’ to encourage audiences to reflect on how traumatic the enforced loss of a safe place to call home is for anyone experiencing persecution or genocide.