On the 25th May 2017 the Refugee and Asylum Seeker English class at Rainbow Haven,

Gorton, Manchester discussed the recent MEN Arena terror attack.

The adult learners were very distressed:

“Teacher, my heart is so sore about this terrible thing.”

“I came here to feel safe. Now I don’t feel safe any more.”

Based on their own experiences of war, torture and atrocity in their countries of origin the learners were asked for their advice to Mancunians on how to begin to cope in the aftermath of the atrocity. The learners said the following:

  • Don’t let the bad people win. Talk to a friend if you are afraid.
  • Call the police if you see something wrong.
  • Stand together and stay positive.
  • Report anything suspicious and help the police
  • I think Mancunians need to have patience, courage and be strong together and to stop to give the fault to all the Muslims. They must know that this is not Islam.
  • We can say we stand together. We not fear of terrorist at all. We will help police and each other when we see anything wrong anywhere and will report them to the police.
  • People should talk about the terror attack with all the people affected to help avoid mental health problem.
  • It is very bad. I think it is best to tell police if suspicious and people can be stopped if we tell the police as they can work out or discover who is guilty.
  • Say “we are not scared”.
  • Help others with mental health (problems) by talking to people about what happened. It is very sad.
  • My heart goes out to the children and parents.
  • We should campaign against terrorism and stay strong together.
  • Have patience and courage. Trust each other. Don’t blame Muslims.
  • Keep calm, be vigilant and trust the Police to help.
  • Don’t believe everything on Social Media, don’t let the bad people win.

'It saved our lives'

Hala and Hayan being interviewed by Lucy Manning

Hala and Hayan say they have been welcomed by the local community in Manchester. BBC News, 7th September, filmed at Rainbow Haven

BBC News, 7th September 2015

Hayan, another refugee who travelled to the UK to escape the conflict in Syria, spoke to the BBC's Lucy Manning on the condition that only his and his wife's first names are used, as he has relatives who are still living in Syria.

"The government in the UK should allow other people to come," he says.

"People in Syria will try to escape from the war. They know they will die so have no choice."

Having been moved initially to Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and then Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, he was eventually settled in Manchester.

Six months later he was joined by his wife and two young children.

Hayan says local people have welcomed him and his family.

"We've had no problems from any people in Manchester," he says. "They are good people. A lot of people tried to help us when we needed help."

Hayan worked as a radiographer in Syria for eight years before the war, while his wife Hala worked in a bank. She says they were happy before the conflict began and only travelled to Europe when there was no other choice.

"It saved my life, my children's lives," she says.

"We had a very beautiful life in Syria before the war. We were forced to leave our country, our jobs, our homes, our parents, our friends, our everything to start a new life here.

"I'm 35 nearly. I'm trying now to start a new life. It's not easy. I just came for my life, for my children's lives."

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LK 170815 refugee

Drop-in coordinator/caseworker Sisay Kahsin was on the Lorraine Show on Monday 17th August. Here is the content of what was discussed.

"I am a refugee and I've never been on benefits, I've worked since I got here. People come for protection, that's the most important thing."

Immigration has dominated the news in recent weeks, with thousands expressing outrage about immigrants landing in the UK from Calais and seeking asylum.

But while headlines complain about Britain being 'overrun with foreigners', one woman remembers what it was like to flee her home to save her life.

Sisay Kahin was only 17 when she fled her home in Ethiopia and sought refuge in Britain, leaving behind a father and brother she would never see again. Now she can't imagine what life would have held for her if she hadn't left.

Sisay told Gaby, "People come for protection and safety. They leave behind everything, their house, work, family..."

She also challenged misconceptions about refugees being on benefits, "I am a refugee and I've never been on benefits, I've worked since I got here. People come for protection, that's the most important thing."