A Syrian refugee who fled his war-torn country to start a new life in Shropshire has thanked Telford College for helping him get to grips with the English language.
Majd Al Mustapha arrived in the county just under two years ago with his wife Rawaa and their three young boys, Ghaith, Laith, and Qaiss and are enjoying their English lives.
The family received help from the United Nations refugee scheme to escape from Syria’s third largest city, Homs, which was being torn apart by warring factions, and have since been building a new life in Trench.
Majd, 45, signed up on a language course for non-English speakers at Telford College’s Haybridge campus to help him integrate more easily with the local community.
He said: “I want to say thank you to Telford College, and in particular Deb Wild, my English tutor, who has helped me speak and understand the English language within 12 months.”
Before the conflict, Majd and his family were living a happy life in a community with tree-lined boulevards and bustling markets, close to the UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra Castle ruins.
Since arriving in Telford, via a brief stay in Lebanon, they have had to learn a different language, culture and way of life – literally starting from scratch.
They have embraced the local area, taking on voluntary work to learn new skills and help make new friends, and been using translation tools on social media to find out more about their new home town, and local groups.
They have also received support from Telford and Wrekin Council, and the support network which links them with other Syrian families in the area.
Rawaa added: “We feel very safe in Telford and people respect us and help us. My children study at schools which they love. We are integrated with the English people and we like their habits.
“We say thanks to Great Britain, and thanks to everybody who has made us feel welcome.”
Telford College English tutor Deb Wild said: “Majd loves learning English. He really enjoys practical work, and writing on the interactive board. He translates for other Arabic students within the class, and gives support to all other nationalities.”
Telford College will be starting a new series of courses for non-English speakers in September. More details are available by calling 01952 642237 on on our website.