Munir's Volunteering Story

Munir's Volunteering Story

28th March 2024

“I came to Scotland alone as a Syrian refugee and didn’t understand the complicated immigration system. I didn’t have the English skills and knowledge needed to know the steps to take in order to stay in Scotland or find opportunities here. I also knew of people who had been rejected when they did their own citizenship applications. My wife and four children were relying on me while living in one room in Jordan and waiting to come and join me in Scotland and we were fleeing the danger of Syria at the time. I knew I had to be successful in my life here so I could bring them to safety. Through my own research and perseverance I found Glasgow North West Citizens Advice Bureau (GNWCAB) and reached out for help.

They employed an Arabic translator and helped me with all different issues to get me settled here in Glasgow including housing, benefits, employment, debt and immigration. Forms which had been confusing to me were quickly and easily explained and they supported me through the application processes. They are experts in the rules and requirements of forms and have channels to follow up through the government. Six months after I had moved to Glasgow my wife and children were able to join me. I studied English and began volunteering with GNWCAB as an Arabic translator which helped me to practice English and also to give back to the organisation that had given me so much.

GNWCAB helped me to apply for British citizenship alongside my family. For me and my family this could have cost thousands of pounds in solicitor’s fees and my wages could have never covered it. We were successful and I feel proud to be a part of the Scottish community and consider my children to be Scottish. They grew up here and have been given amazing opportunities they never would have back home. Currently, three of my children are at University studying medical degrees and my youngest daughter is in S6.

I came to Scotland aged 48 and had to start a new life. I learned a new language, new skills and made new friends. Last year I myself completed a lifelong dream to do a Masters in Community Development. I can say GNWCAB changed my life and has made me feel supported and like I belong. I feel like I have finally found myself and realised my dreams by being here in Scotland, and you can’t imagine the safety and security me and my family feel as a citizens of this country now.”

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