A Syrian child refugee has said she hopes to become a doctor to “make people feel happy” after being given the chance of a new life in the UK.
A long journey
Lilian, 10, came to live in Kent in 2018, having left her home country six years earlier amid a horrific civil war that still rages today. She was joined by parents Mahmoud and Khawla and siblings Laian, eight, Laith, five, and Wasef, four.
After a disrupted childhood in which the family spent six years in Jordan, Lilian told the PA news agency she feels settled in her new home and has high hopes for the future. She said:
I am happy I’m sharing my ideas and sharing my life, that I’ve been struggling, and now I want to tell them (viewers) I’m happy here, I love to make friends, and learn so much English. I want to be a doctor so I can help people and make them feel happy, I don’t want people to feel sick or sad… I want them to feel great.
Her message came as charity Migrant Help released a film of five Syrian families – including Lilian’s – who have resettled in the UK reflecting on life since leaving the war-torn country. It’s estimated 5,664 migrant children will be spending their first Christmas in the UK this year.
Lilian’s father Mahmoud told the PA news agency:
We left my country in 2012 and we had no dreams. When we came here it was difficult, but Migrant Help has made it easier for us, they have been supporting us.
When we came here we couldn’t speak any English, we had no friends. Now we have friends, I have a job, my children go to school, now we have a dream.
I’m not worried about my children’s futures now because they have lots of opportunities in this country.
The film, entitled I Have Dreams, hopes to be a source of comfort to children experiencing their first Christmas in the UK this year.
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Do you remember your first Christmas?
— Migrant Help (@migranthelp) December 18, 2020
It contains several stories of the struggles families faced, and their hopes for the future. Mahmoud, who has volunteered for Oxfam and now works as a delivery driver, told PA
We are grateful to be in this country because we can be safe. Migrant Help has made it easier for us.
He said his biggest dream is to see his mother, who he has not visited since he left Syria.
Anna Ware, Migrant Help’s director of strategy and engagement, said:
Refugee and asylum-seeking families we support have the same hopes and dreams as other families in the UK, and with targeted support it is clear that life can become easier.
Through our I Have Dreams project we seek to shed light on, and give voice to, the dreams of vulnerable people in the UK who have been victims of exploitation or displacement.