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Mustafa, resettled refugee
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a resettled refugee

Danielle Goldstein

…according to Mustafa, 27.

Normal life goes on, even in desperate circumstances

‘I had to leave Syria in 2013 when the war broke out, and lived for a while in a refugee camp in Iraq. It was extremely challenging. The tents we lived in were freezing in winter and extremely hot in the summer. But I met my wife there – we were both teaching in a school – and our first daughter was born there. We still stay in touch with our colleagues from the school and the friends I played football with in the camp, via WhatsApp and Facebook.’

Many refugees don’t know which country they’ll end up in

‘The resettlement process is a long one, which includes many interviews and checks, and you don’t know which country will accept you. For us it took about a year and a half, but that was relatively quick – it can take over two years.’

London can be surprisingly welcoming

‘We have been living in London for more than a year now. We’re incredibly grateful and happy to be here. This city has given us peace of mind, security and opportunities we didn’t have before: our second daughter was born here and our first will be brought up here. And I love that I can ride my bike everywhere.’

Resettlement is a vital lifeline

‘No one would ever willingly leave their country, home and family, but life is almost impossible now in Syria. There is no work and no security, only misery and despair. The camps are full of people like us who want to start a new life. I hope more can be done for them.’

Join the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Ben & Jerry’s Together for Refugees campaign and take action to support vulnerable refugees.

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