18 June 2019
Syrian refugees spoke about their experiences of settling in England at a special Shabbat service at Kingston Liberal Synagogue (KLS).
Journalist and Arabic teacher Hasnaa Omar left Syria in 2013 and arrived in London in 2016. She was subsequently able to bring her husband, an IT manager, to England and they now have a son, George, who is 18 months’ old and also attended the service.
Describing her experiences of settling into the UK, Hasnaa told the KLS community how doing voluntary work on arrival is a good way to learn English and improve employment prospects.
The refugees were joined at the Shabbat service by members of Kingston Refugee Action. The charity’s resettlement coordinator Marwa Belghazi spoke about her role in helping refugees settle into the Borough by providing practical and cultural support.
There are currently 11 refugee families settled in Kingston with a few more due to arrive shortly. KLS joined with other religious groups last year to set up a welcome group and help with befriending opportunities.
Speaking after the service, Marwa said: “It was so heart-warming to be invited into a synagogue, and one which is so open to people of different cultures, and to see that the community is so welcoming. I look forward to working further with members of KLS in helping newly arrived families to settle into the area.”
Photo: Syrian refugee Hasnaa Omar, KLS member Rabbi Janet Darley and Marwa Belghazi of Refugee Action Kingston
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