Nefise’s Story

refugee week - painted face

This is one of series of articles featuring the real life stories of refugees who are now living in Kirklees.

These stories give an insight into the struggles that those seeking a life away from persecution go through and are a powerful reminder of how much we take for granted.

Nefise’s story

My name is Nefise. I am Kurdish, from Syria, 62 years old and married. I have three sons. For 30 years I worked as a primary school teacher in my country.

In 2011, when the war started in my country, nobody thought of leaving his country but the war left us with no choice. I had to pack my whole life into one small bag. My bag was not big enough to carry my home, my family, my friends and every warm corner of my city. So I left everything behind….. I had no choice.

At this age, it is very difficult to move from your homeland and very hard to start to build a new life from scratch.

I left at night time and crossed the border in the dark. I had to walk through muddy fields for many hours and I lost my shoes during that journey. My clothes were all torn by the barbed wore along the border. As soon as I arrived in the Turkish city nearest the border, I went to a hotel to rest and change my clothes. After that I went to the bus station and booked a ticket to go to Istanbul. I stood for the whole journey, for about 24 hours. After a few hours, the bus stopped for a break so that the passengers could get something to eat and drink. Whilst I was having my meal the bus went without me and I had to wait for several hours to be able to catch another bus. I booked a new ticket and waited for 7 hours in a petrol station before I was able to start my journey again.

I arrived in Istanbul and stayed there for two months. The smugglers lied to me, always saying that I would travel tomorrow, or in three days or after a week. One day the smugglers told me that I would travel that night and they came for me during the night to take me away. The lorry arrived, I got into it and stayed in there for three days without any food or drink until we got to the UK.

It was a very hard journey but now I live in Huddersfield. I go to Kirklees College three days a week to learn English. In the future I would like to be a teaching assistant. The people here are very friendly, polite and helpful.

Find out more  

If you would like to read more refugee stories you can read about Sleman, and Nariman. In addition you can learn more about refugees in our article 7 things you might not know about refugees.

Also more information can be found on twitter under the hashtag #kirkleeswelcomes.

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