In January of 2016, journalist Helen Pidd wrote about her decision to welcome a Syrian refugee, named Yasser, into her Manchester home. Despite reservations about living alone with an unknown man, followed by the occasional cultural misunderstanding, they soon became happy housemates.
In the year that followed, Yasser volunteered as a teaching assistant and got a job as a steward at Manchester United. When his wife and daughter arrived from Syria, he moved out of Pidd’s house and settled in his own place in north Manchester.
Yasser’s first months in the UK would likely have been very different without Pidd’s altruism, so it’s heartening to know she is not the only person extending a helping hand. Chris and Vicki, a couple who also live in Manchester, recently welcomed Roudi into their home. Having fled Syria, Roudi was paired with Chris and Vicki through the charity Refugees at Home.
While there have been minor teething issues – like having to share a house with a cat and dog – Roudi has settled in well, regularly cooking dinner or accompanying the couple on trips around town, and he’s even developed a new love for pets.
Roudi’s story reflects the UK’s willingness to help people displaced by the conflict in Syria. Thanks to charities like Refugees at Home, this concern can be turned into a concrete support system, one that gives people like Roudi and Yasser the chance to create a new life in a new land. The cultural exchange between the two parties is also extremely enriching: Chris, Vicki and Roudi regularly share a sit-down meal – something the couple were not used to – thanks to their guest’s culinary skills.