New baby 'symbol of hope' for Syrian refugee family resettled in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 16:56 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:56 31 August 2017
A Syrian couple who fled war in their motherland have been able to rebuild their lives and complete their family after resettling to Ipswich on a Government support scheme.
Mwafaq and Asmaa Almostafa have welcomed a new baby to their brood, to the delight of doting siblings Faten, 12, Dareen, 10, Solaf, eight, and five-year-old Mohammed.
Taim was born on June 22 – exactly a year after the family arrived in Britain, and has been described as a symbol of their restored hope for the future.
The couple are the first refugees relocated in Suffolk as part of the UK Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS) to have a baby.
Martin Simmonds, of Suffolk Refugee Support (SRS), which is coordinating the programme locally, said: “This is what we hope for; having been through so much, losing their homes, friends and family and not being able to look to the future when they were in Syria, now they are in a place they can feel safe and they can start having hope for the future and maybe the baby represents that in some way.”
Many of the county’s newcomers now have jobs and are fully integrated into British life, Mr Simmonds said.
In 2011, the Almostafas had to uproot from their home city of Daraa across the border to Jordan.
“It was extremely difficult because the war had just kicked off and there were a lot of check points so we were very scared,” Mr Almostafa said.
The family, who have all been attending English language lessons, spent five years in Jordan before being granted a place on SVPRS and moving to Ipswich.
Mr Almostafa said he couldn’t think of a better or safer place to raise his children. Faten is excelling in her studies at school, achieving 98% in a recent maths exam, and all of the older children say they have made good friends in the town.
“We came to the UK for the kids and to secure their future to do whatever they want to do in life,” Mr Almostafa added. “The kids are the most important thing to us - everything we do is for them.”
Mr Almostafa gave special thanks to SRS for helping him and his family settle in.
By the end of September, there will be 77 refugees living in Suffolk as part of SVPRS, which helps the most vulnerable families displaced from Syria by conflict.