Escaping war and persecution in his homeland, having just completed his law degree, Khaled Al Hussein, from Syria arrived in the UK in June 2017 with his family seeking sanctuary.
Unable to speak English, his wife was heavily pregnant and the father had been forced into hard labour to ensure his family survived whilst in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
“When I first arrived in the UK, I was still angry about losing my home, about having to move to somewhere I did not know and angry about feeling powerless. “When you want to provide for your family and make sure they are safe having to depend on another people’s support for everything is very difficult.”
Arriving in the UK
Supported by The Refugee and Migrant Centre’s (RMC) Walsall branch and its resettlement team – part of the Governments Syrian Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) – arrangements for Khaled and his family’s support were made prior to arrival.
One day after arriving in Walsall, his wife was supported to access maternity care and the entire family were also given health checks by a GP. Just two days later Khaleed attended his first English class, barely missing a session since; apart from when his second child was born.
Khaled and his family continued to fully engage with RMC and other local service and support providers such as Walsall College. His hard work earned him the best English student in the community award, having successfully passed all his exams.
Building a life in the UK
Khaled continued to study, taking on a community interpreting course, a maths course and began looking at skills to begin looking for work. He obtained a first aid qualification, full UK driving licence and started volunteering at RMC, to provide support to the caseworkers.
These skills and his experience of volunteering left him in the perfect position when an opportunity arrived at RMC as new Resettlement projects began. Having lived experience, and worked hard to build his language skills, Khaled was a perfect candidate and was successful in his application for a paid role within RMC.
Expert by experience
Since beginning his role, Khaled has supported those arriving to the UK as part of the Resettlement & Integration team. His experience going through the system himself has proved invaluable as well as his professionalism. He has worked with several cohorts of arrivals, helping to settle, build and grow and continues to support new arrivals to this day.