Syrian refugees praised for community work in Paisley

Brothers Ahmad and Ayman Ahmad, Moatasem and Ebrahim Andoura and Issa Al Ahmad with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan. Picture: Renfrewshire Council/PA Wire
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Brothers Ahmad and Ayman Ahmad, Moatasem and Ebrahim Andoura and Issa Al Ahmad with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan. Picture: Renfrewshire Council/PA Wire .
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Five Syrian teenage refugees have been praised for their volunteering work with an environmental charity.

Brothers Ahmad and Ayman Ahmad, Moatasem and Ebrahim Andoura and Issa Al Ahmad - all aged between 15 and 17 - were among 81 refugees resettled in Paisley last November after fleeing the civil war in their homeland.

While studying at Paisley Grammar School, they volunteered to work with Renfrewshire Council’s environmental training team, which organises community clean-ups and garden maintenance.

Council staff arranged the opportunity through volunteer co-ordinators Engage Renfrewshire, and paid for their travel costs.

The teenagers have now been presented with Saltire Awards and praised for their work.

Ebrahim said the work has given him confidence and taught him how to use a lawnmower.

He said: “Paisley is a nice area. The people in Scotland are very nice and they smile all the time.

“I am learning English although in school I do not understand everything. But my teachers in school are trying to come up with different ways to teach us and they do their best.

“My favourite subjects are maths and woodwork. When I leave school I want to go to university to study mechanical engineering.”

Renfrewshire is one of the most populated areas of the UK with Syrian refugees.

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Council leader Mark Macmillan said: “We believe everybody has a moral duty to help those who are fleeing persecution and oppression.

“That’s why we are proud Renfrewshire was able to lead the way in Scotland by welcoming a community of Syrian refugees to the area last year.

“Council staff have worked hard to help the group settle in here, and it’s great to see the boys and their families integrating into the local community like this.

“I was delighted to be able to present these certificates to the boys and wish to thank them for their efforts.”

Ebrahim’s father Mohamad said he is happy to see his family settling in Scotland, and he hopes to find work in the area.

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Mr Andoura said: “When I was back in Syria I always wanted to travel to the UK and now it is my home. Scotland is a great country and the people are amazing.

“I want to thank the people for receiving us - it was a great way we were received. I want to thank Renfrewshire Council - thanks to them my kids are going to school and studying.

“The main difference here is the weather. But I like Scottish people - they are always smiling and we have not experienced any racism.

“We feel at home here but we miss our family back home in Syria. They are not secure there, but there is nothing we can do for them.

“There is just one thing we are missing - I am looking for work and hope to find a job. In Syria I was an accountant and had experience of running a coffee shop.

“Having a job is very important to Middle Eastern men.”

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