ELMBRIDGE CAN LAUNCHES REFUGEE SUPPORT FUND AHMED'S STORY
22 March 2017
Elmbridge CAN is delighted to have approved a number of grant applications since our Refugee Support Fund launched last month.
Thanks to the generous donations from Elmbridge residents and Crowdfunder.co.uk grants, we raised over £5,000 to support refugees in the community. These small grants are already making a difference to people’s lives.
We caught up with Ahmed, who received a grant from Elmbridge CAN to turn his garden into an allotment. Being able to grow his own vegetables will help Ahmed and his family to save money and stay healthy. But for Ahmed, the grant means much more than this.
Ahmed lived on a small farm in Idlib, northern Syria, with his wife, Rima* and their 2 children. His family had been farmers for generations, growing cucumber, aubergines and almonds.
When war broke out, Ahmed had no choice but to leave his family and flee to Lebanon. Soon after he left, he discovered that his wife, Rima, was expecting their third child.
When Rima was 7 months pregnant, the soldiers came to her home. She was forced to leave and forbidden from taking any possessions with her. She fled with her children and her cousin and after walking all day and night, reached the border with Lebanon where she was reunited with Ahmed.
Although they had escaped the war, Ahmed and his family struggled to rebuild their lives in Lebanon. They avoided the refugee camps – fearful that their children would be abused – and instead lived in a shop storeroom for 2 years. Ahmed worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week to pay for their shelter.
A NEW CHAPTER
The family finally received some good news in 2015 when they were told they would be resettled to the UK as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Their children, now 11, 9 and 4, are able to enjoy a childhood without the constant fear of bombing, attack or abuse.
As for Ahmed… being so far from home is still difficult. But thanks to the support of Elmbridge CAN and the community, he is at least able to do what he loves best, growing vegetables in his garden and caring for his family.
If you want to support people like Ahmed and Rima, please share this story with your friends and look out for more news from Elmbridge CAN.
Or if you know someone who might benefit from our Refugee Support Fund please encourage them to submit an application.
* All names have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals involved.
Image: Vicki Felgate / Elmbridge CAN