Khaled* had worked for international and local NGOs in Palestine before he was forced to flee and seek sanctuary in the UK. He is fluent in English and is now trying to pick up a word or two of the local Scots language.
He has been granted refugee status in the UK and, immediately after, he applied for family reunion with his family. Miriam, Khaled’s wife, and their three children, the youngest just over a year old, were still in Gaza, Palestine.
Khaled was separated from Mariam and the children for one year. He says that “we kept in touch by making video calls on WhatsApp every day.” Not knowing when they would see each other again was really difficult.
After an arduous and worrisome journey out of Gaza to Beirut airport, the family was reunited in Glasgow at the end of last year. Khaled says: “I was so happy when I saw my family in Glasgow airport. I could not imagine I [would] see my children after one year. You helped us to be reunited and start a new life together.
Mariam and Khaled describe their first impressions of Glasgow: “It’s a beautiful city but cold.” It was a foggy day when Khaled’s family arrived. Once the obligatory self-isolation period due to Covid-19 regulations had passed, Mariam had a chance to see the city: “Glasgow is an amazing city, especially old buildings in the city centre and walking along the Clyde River.”
Mariam now wants to study English and the children have started attending school. Khaled is looking for a job in the NGO sector. “We have started a new life together.”
“Thanks very much for your contribution in making us reunited.”
(*)The names have been changed and some identifying details omitted