In 2012 we went to Lebanon because there was a war in my country. I left Syria with my parents, three brothers, and my two sisters, but one sister still lives in Syria with her husband and two children (one boy and one girl).

My father wanted to travel to Egypt but my brother did not have a passport to travel so we could not; we stayed in Lebanon. My little brother and I went to school and my father and brothers worked. But life was difficult in Lebanon.

And now the most difficult thing for me was that I studied for two years to Year Nine, but the Minister of Education refused to give me the certificate. Why? Because I am Syrian. Most of the Lebanese people are racist towards Syrians, but they do have good people there too.

I then left school and went to work to help my family’s income because living was expensive there. This life continued until the day when happiness came.

Happiness was the news that we would come to New Zealand. On 18 January 2017 my family and I came to New Zealand, but my sister who lived with us in Lebanon stayed there with her husband. And my dream to get a proper education, which I did not achieve in Lebanon, I will realise here. 

I feel happy because I came to New Zealand.

How to help

If you want to learn more about former refugees living in New Zealand, why not sign up to become a Red Cross refugee support volunteer. Our volunteers are a key part of our refugee resettlement programme, learn more here