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Monday, 27 November 2017 20:42

Inspiring talk from Syrian Refugee Featured

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The Eirias Amnesty International group were very pleased to welcome a Syrian refugee to speak to students from Years 11, 12 and 13 recently. 

Omer moved with his family from a refugee camp in northern Iraq nearly a year ago and has since been living in the Colwyn Bay area as part of a UK government initiative.  Omer talked to students about his experiences in Syria, as a refugee in Turkey and then Iraq and about his experience of moving to the UK with his family.

 Omer, who is a Syrian of Kurdish origin, previously studied at a university in Aleppo where he studied English Literature through the medium of his second language, Arabic.  Students were surprised to learn that Omer had studied many of the same texts as them, including Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy, albeit in his third language!

 Of course, Omer’s family, like countless others in Syria, have faced huge difficulties since the start of the civil war there 7 years ago.  His family were forced to leave their home city after ISIS attacks and for a time lived in the mountains in very basic conditions. 

 Omer has lost contact with brothers in the conflict and is unable to contact many family members.  After moving to Turkey and later to one of many UN refugee camps in northern Iraq, Omer and his wife had their first son born in the camp. 

 Omer also supported the mental health agencies providing support to traumatised adults and children in the camps.  It was eye opening for students to hear first-hand from someone who had experienced this conflict that they may have heard about many times in the media.

 Students were able to ask Omer questions about his experience and to learn more about his experiences of moving to North Wales with a handful of other refugee families spread across the region.  As a linguist, Omer has been called upon to assist other refugees as an interpreter. 

 Omer’s positive outlook, despite the many problems faced by his family, perhaps provides some perspective to some of the problems we may face as staff and students in a busy North Wales School. 

 Our thanks go to Omer and also Maggie Towse from the Colwyn Bay Amnesty group for helping to organise the event, to all the students and staff who attended and also the Year 13 Amnesty group for all their efforts to raise awareness of humanitarian issues since last year

 

 

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Mr D Nicholls (Staff)

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