Looking back, life was wonderful. It was peaceful with nothing to worry about. We were young, married and had just had our first child.

Then the war started and the situation just got worse and worse. There was constant bombing. Planes dropping bombs every day, slamming us from every side. It felt as if we were under siege. it was unbelievable. We hid in the shelters just coming out to see if family members are alive or dead.

When the UN said we could go to the UK they showed us a film about the country. It was a frightening decision - to be alone, without family, in a strange country, where we could not speak the language. But they were offering us a safe place to be.

We arrived in the UK. with one suitcase with all our belongings in. It was wonderful to see Hannah waiting for us. She told us ‘we are here for you. If you need anything you can always call us.’  It’s like when you are very thirsty and someone gives you a drink of water.

We were like little children. We had to be taught everything. How to get on a bus. What to say to the driver. What number to get to go to town. Where to find halal shops. Where the mosque was. Everything we needed in the beginning. Then things like setting up bank accounts, registering with a GP, going to the opticians and health checks to make sure that we had not caught any disease or virus during the war. How to pay for things at a supermarket. All about the currency.

Refugee Council helped us get signed up for English classes and helped get the kids into nursery and school so we could both go to college. They helped us a lot in every way. Helped us feel independent.

Our family are still in Syria and we are constantly checking the news. We worry for them. Physically we are here but emotionally we are there. We are very grateful to the UK for giving us a home but we will never lose hope in God that we can one day go back to Syria.

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