Meet Dured, the young Syrian winner of the Young Scot Community Award 2017.

Dured and his family

Meet Dured, the young Syrian winner of the Young Scot Community Award 2017.

Dured Alhalabe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dured Alhalabe, 21 did not turn down any opportunity to give back to the community which welcomed him and his family with wide arms. Dured and his family who fled war-torn Syria to live in Jordan were resettled in February 2016 in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons’ Relocation Scheme.

Last week, Dured won the Young Scot Community Award of 2017. The awards shine a light on the positive contributions young people make every day and provide a fantastic opportunity to see their efforts and dedication celebrated. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NpUj3dzSoc

Dured told Scottish Refugee Council how painful it was to see his city of Homs being bombed and burnt to the ground. Losing friends and relatives in war is difficult to make sense of and often fuels memories which haunt you on a daily basis.

Katie MacLean, Refugee Resettlement Coordinator in Aberdeenshire Council talked about how she met Dured and his family: ‘’I first met Dured on 23 Feb 2016 when he landed at Aberdeen Airport with his mum, dad, and three younger siblings.  The Alhalabis were the trailblazers – the first Syrian family to arrive in Aberdeenshire under the VPR Scheme and the first to test out how resettlement would and could work in Inverurie. 

“Over the next few months, Dured was quiet and almost invisible as he focused on helping his dad who has a physical disability, but as time went on his voice got louder, his smile wider and his eyes brighter!  By August 2016, Dured was attending ESOL classes at college in Aberdeen and helping the resettlement team with communication and planning for new families arriving.  Dured had arrived with a little English but his drive and natural inquisitiveness meant that his written and spoken language skills improved beyond expectation.’’

Dured and his family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dured volunteered in local projects, food banks and helped put up Christmas decorations, then he became a spokesperson for the 70 Syrian refugees resettled in Aberdeenshire.

In October 2016, Dured with the help of locals nurtured an idea and established a new group for the Syrian families called the Amal Project (Hope). Shortly after this he was elected to become a chairperson for the project

Dured explains: “The Amal project’s main objectives are to help people with employment skills and to develop community projects that build on the skills, knowledge, and expertise of Syrian New Scots to work towards better integration for everyone. We have formed the Syrian job club in collaboration with the job centre and Aberdeenshire City Council to focus on helping Syrians in writing their CVs and learning about the various interviews techniques.”

Dured speaks about his experience of life in Scotland: ‘’When I moved to Scotland I was afraid how would people interact with me knowing I come from a different background, community and with little English. But it did not take a long time to find out how friendly and welcoming Scottish people are. I did not feel discriminated and I have made new friends quickly. I feel I am home and Scottish people are my people. I proudly think about me and the rest of my family members as the New Scots. My future plans are to continue my study and go to university. In addition to a side project, I am working to secure a fund for a restaurant which will serve Arabic food as an initiative to introduce our traditional food to Aberdeenshire as well as creating job opportunities.’’

*The Young Scot Community Award 2017 celebrates the work accomplished by a young people who improves the lives of people within a community. They may have demonstrated good citizenship by influencing decision-making at local government level, participating in local action, or anything else that has made a huge difference to others in their community.

https://youngscotawards.com/portfolio/winners/

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