Refugee Week Scotland 2007 - Friendship Stories Jamie and Sam

30 May 2007

Jamie O’Neill, 20, Glasgow and Sam Rebika, 20, Glasgow via Algeria met while they were both at high school in Drumchapel.


 “When we heard that asylum seekers were coming to our school everyone was curious about them. At first, many people were wary of each other and there was an obvious split in the playground, but this soon changed when everyone got to know each other.

‘My first memory of Sam was that he was quiet. He hardly said a word. Then I saw him on the football pitch. He is amazing, like Ronaldinho. I don’t like football that much, so when we played I was always stuck being the referee.

It is hard for Sam because two of the big Scottish football teams tried to sign him, but they can’t, because after 6 years he is still an asylum seeker and is not allowed to work.”


‘When I first came here, it took a long time for me to be given a school place, so I sat in the house everyday. It was a hard time. I had a few words of English but I couldn’t hold a conversation. I just sat with my head down.

I met Jamie when I finally got a school place at school. I had seen him about. I thought he was the only Scottish boy in the whole world who cared about asylum seekers.

We became friends, and I trusted him. If he sat next to me on the bus, I would feel okay. Jamie is a great person. He has a big heart. He doesn’t care about where people are from - to him we all have the same blood.”