Hayyan’s journey to Dublin has been a long one – one that has taken almost two years, but he now finally has somewhere he can call home this Christmas. Hayyan left Syria in early 2016, arriving in Greece in March. His first stop was the Greek islands, then he made his way to a port, and this was followed by a camp. Hayyan then moved to Athens and came to Ireland from there. His first home in Ireland was Mosney.
Hayyan stayed in Mosney for nine months, until December, and there is no doubt he made good use of his time there. “It used to be a holiday resort so it is good accommodation and the conditions are advanced and everything is available in Mosney,” explains Hayyan.
He made a big effort to become integrated in the local community surrounding Mosney. He got a voluntary job in the Irish Deaf Society in Drogheda after he saw an advertisement in their window. He worked there for six months. “That made my life better,” says Hayyan, “because I started to engage with the society in a meaningful way and I had something to do, not just wait for my papers and do nothing.”
Hayyan finally got his refugee status which allows him to work and given he was going to be independent, he set about finding accommodation, with the help of the Irish Red Cross.
Hayyan was put in contact with Kevin in the Irish Red Cross. “Kevin was very, very, very helpful, he was very nice at all the meetings I had with him. He was very friendly and respectable and they found the accommodation in a short time, it didn’t take a long time. Kevin organised accommodation for Hayyan was under the Irish Red Cross Register of Pledges. The Irish Red Cross manages a register of pledges for accommodation, goods, and services made by the Irish public on a charitable basis; the pledges were made in response to the migration crisis in Europe and the Middle East.
Hayyan has moved into his accommodation and it is going very well.
He says he was nervous “because I was moving to live with people who I don’t know and I presume that they were nervous as well, so I think both of us were a little bit worried about this. You would not accept a strange man and welcome him to stay in your house if you didn’t know him. But day to day we are getting to know each other and we are getting along well and I’m not just more comfortable but also they give this feeling – that you are more than welcome, and we are your family, and don’t feel that you are a guest. We eat together, we cook together, sometimes they feed me, sometimes I cook a Syrian dish and they are very supportive and very kind and friendly and I am very grateful for that, I am very lucky to find this family.”
Suffice it to say, Hayyan’s pledgers have given him the gift of hope this Christmas.
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