'Now we look forward to the future'
Hamed worked as an interpreter for British forces in Iraq and was forced to flee when militias targeted his family. Devastatingly, war took over their home and they were once again forced to leave everything behind. This is his story.
In Iraq I worked as a tailor for the British armed forces. I had a t-shirt and embroidery shop – one day I gave a gift of the Iraqi flag to Prince Harry when he visited the British base! Later, I worked as an interpreter with American army. After troops left the country, my family and I faced great danger.
We received death threats from the militia. Then they began to shoot at my house. They made attempts to kill me and my family.
I made the impossible decision of leaving my country, my job, my home and taking my family to Syria in search of safety. But as an Iraqi, I had no right to work there. My family and I had nothing. Every day we were suffering. We had no future. Then, war broke out there too.
After five years, everything we had was gone, our money had run out. We had reached the lowest possible point. We had nothing. Resettlement was our final hope.
One day when my children were at school I got a call. We had been accepted to come to Britain. When my children got home they said – “We don’t believe you! We don’t believe you!” That day, we all could not stop crying tears of happiness. It was a historic moment. It was like something had come from heaven to save us.
The night before we left we all slept so peacefully. Until then, we feared violence and didn’t know how we would survive one day to the next. But everything was beautiful that night. We prepared ourselves to leave for our new life.
When we arrived in Hull it was wonderful. The Refugee Council helped us find our feet. My neighbour on the first day came over to visit me, and said if you need anything, come to us. They gave us a gift.
Life in Iraq and Syria was so difficult. It was hard for children to go to school. There was no future for my kids. Hospitals are in very bad condition. You can’t walk in the street. There is violence between the militias. They kidnap and rape every day. They shoot and they kill in the streets. Here we can live in peace. My children can get an education.
We try our best to make the most of everything and we are so thankful to the UK government and its people.
Resettlement changed our lives forever. Now, my two boys are studying at college and my daughter is set to go to university next year. I’m working as a taxi driver and as I am a huge history fan I am now working with the museums in Hull. I feel a deep connection between Hull and my home city as they are both historic port towns. I’m involved in making a film to celebrate Hull as the European capital of culture.
The incredible welcome we have had from the people of Hull has made it easy for us to call Hull home. Without the Refugee Council we could not have managed in our new lives in the UK. They helped us with every step.
Now we are looking forward to the future.