Safaa: The Story of a Refugee

Safaa and his family were relocated to the UK after fleeing their home country, Iraq. Refugee Action changed their lives.

Safaa fled his home country Iraq, in search of a sense of safety and security. On arrival in a neighbouring country, despite the deep-rooted connections the two countries shared in terms of language, religion and culture, Safaa and his family still faced immense challenges, and didn’t find the feeling of safety they had fled looking for. Having to pay for schooling and medicine while surviving on very little meant the days were still so difficult.

Safaa and his family were relocated to the UK. The news was a dream come true because, in Safaa’s words, “we knew we would be safe and that we would finally be given equal rights to others around us”. They couldn’t even imagine leaving so much pain, death and sorrow behind. Safaa’s family were greeted at the airport by Refugee Action, who Safaa celebrates for being a “charity of great humanity and decency, our angels of mercy”. Refugee Action helped Safaa and his family rebuild their lives here in the UK.

They arrived in their new home, furnished and fitted to their needs, including a fridge full of Halal food and a pram for their young children. The volunteers helped the family get to grips with the house, provided emergency contacts and money to help them through their first few weeks in this new world. Until this point, his family had struggled so much without any help, but they finally felt they were in a good place with good people, “we thought we were in a dream”.

On the first day in their new home, the whole family woke up excited to experience their new country. They were welcomed by local residents and neighbours. Safaa recalls how people would smile at them in the street and how they had never before been treated with such warmth. Their children now play with their neighbours’ children and have learnt fluent English.

Refugee Action were able to help the family settle in, set up bank accounts, help buy mobile phones and get email addresses up and running. The team showed the family around their new home, taking them to visit the school their children would be attending, where Refugee Action had registered them before they even arrived in the UK. Aaiesha, their caseworker, worked tirelessly to support all their needs and helped Safaa and his family understand their rights and obligations now as residents in the UK, always with the utmost humanity and respect towards them.

Safaa confirms how proud he is to be part of this society, which he comments is so green and naturally beautiful. He is working to perfect his English and become a productive member of society to contribute and support this country in the same way that it has supported his family. Safaa describes the UK as a country that is Great by any standards, a country which accepts everyone regardless of their religion or background.

In Safaa’s own words;

“We would like to thank everyone who saved us. Even though I could fill a book with my gratitude, it would not be enough to thank the people and this country for all they have done for me. We would like to say thank you to Refugee Action, to the council and to everyone who supported us. We want to say a special thank you to Aaiesha, who we had to bid farewell to after one year of tremendous support. Now, a year later, we feel more independent and able to do almost everything on our own. We’re so happy that we’re here in the country of law, country of freedom, country of happiness: Britain. Great Britain. Great in everything. I wish this new home continuous and long-lasting prosperity.”

Refuee Action, saved and changed Safaa and his family’s lives, for which they are so clearly very grateful. At this current period in time, where there is so much anger and hate in our world, we would love to see our country through Safaa’s eyes, it reminds us we have so much to be grateful for.