Press Release: Syrian Refugee Family Arrive Safely in BirminghamZubair Akram
18 February 2020
Syrian Refugee Family Arrive Safely in Birmingham After Years Living in Harsh Camp Conditions
On Wednesday 12th February 2020, a Syrian family sponsored by GLMCC took their first steps into their new home in Birmingham, UK.
Working with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, a team of GLMCC volunteers have been working tirelessly over the past few months to act as sponsors for a refugee family to be relocated to the UK, through the government’s ‘Vulnerable Person’s Relocation Scheme’.
Many churches and other organisations have been doing similar work in relocating refugees to the UK on behalf of the UK government over the past few years but GLMCC has become one of the first mosques to do the same.
Over the past six years, GLMCC through its Taskforce GLM volunteer team has been providing support to overseas refugees as part of its humanitarian work. Over that period they have raised and distributed over £6.6m of donations raised predominantly from the Birmingham Muslim community. Their work has included the establishment of shelters for orphans and widows, a £3M bread project, the building of water filtration plants, and the annual distribution of thousands of emergency food packages and other essential aid around the world.
This work was a natural evolution of that work with the team able to permanently move a vulnerable family out of harsh camp conditions in Lebanon. Dr Irslan, a Birmingham GP who was the main lead for the project commented:
“We were committed to saving at least one family from their desperate and traumatising conditions.”
The family of six consisting of a mother, father, 3 children and the mother’s orphaned, younger brother travelled to the UK with no more than a couple of bags. GLMCC representatives were saddened to realise that the family had very few personal belongings remaining. With God’s mercy and the support of GLMCC’s congregation, the family arrived into a house that had been beautifully decorated, cleaned and furnished by volunteers.
The 3-bedroom terraced house was in need of extensive renovation before the family could move in. A mixture of people from the community came together to support the work, with even an interior designer offering her services to help transform the house into a warm and welcoming home.
Other members of the community worked hard to paint, build furniture and clean the house in the months preceding their arrival. The dedicated volunteers felt personally affected by the family’s story. In reflective moments, they felt emotional, as one volunteer explained:
“I had been briefed earlier on in the project about the family’s situation and it had been heart-wrenching to hear. It was an emotional moment greeting them. We helped them settle in as much as we could and explained some of the essential information they needed.”
The family sat for their first meal; a home-cooked Syrian speciality, prepared by a volunteer. As they started to rest after their long day of travel, the volunteers solemnly reflected upon the work that is yet to be done. Read the full detailed experience from one of the volunteers here.
With a support network created for the family, GLMCC will now focus upon integrating the family into the community through English classes, helping the parents to find employment, and putting the children into school.
The family still require emotional, social and financial support. GLMCC request the community to continue their efforts by supporting the cause.
Humayun Saleem, PR & Fundraising Manager, commented:
“The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” GLMCC would like to thank the congregation for their donations and particularly the volunteers that worked so hard to renovate the house.”
If you would like to donate towards helping the family settle into their new home and towards their living costs, then please do so here.
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre
20 Green Lane
Birmingham, B9 5DB
Tel: 0121 713 0080