Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Congress of European Municipalities and Regions

CEMR congress - 29.04.2016

Interview with Molham and Hala, Syrian refugees
CEMR interviewed two Syrian refugees, Hala and Molham, to talk about their journey from Syria to Europe and the issues they have to deal with.

The video interview was shown at the CEMR Congress in Nicosia (Cyprus), from 20 to 22 April 2016. The interview is available on CEMR’s YouTube channel.

Hi Hala, Hi Molham. Thank you for accepting the interview. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey from Syria to here?

Molham: I came from Turkey, a place near Istanbul, about three or four hours away. After that I went to Greece, to an island, then to Macedonia, to Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

Hala: My Name is Hala, I come from Damascus. I am married and I am the mother of a nine year old daughter. I’ve been here for two years and a half.

I have a diploma in literature and human sciences from the University of Damascus. I worked as a teacher for fifteen years in Aleppo. My husband is a lawyer and a journalist. I have a five-year resident status. I’m a political refugee.

How was your town affected by the conflict?

Molham: My hometown is affected actually, war is happening there. But when I lived in Damascus nothing actually happened. But my hometown, original hometown, yes, it’s affected.

What was your plan at the start when you left Syria, what did you have in mind?

Molham: I thought about building my new future, to find a job, to find a safe place. To find a place where we can live like normal people, like how we lived before in Syria, like normal people.

Tell us about your journey from Syria to Belgium. What are the obstacles you faced, what was difficult?

Hala: The refugees did not only come to Belgium, but to all of Europe. It was a very difficult journey. We did not travel by sea. I faced very big difficulties because I have a daughter. My daughter needed a lot of things which were not available to me. For example, food, and she also needed a toilet. These things were very difficult to find.

How could European towns and cities help your city in Syria?

Molham: I think that since they are helping us here, they can help us in our city to rebuild our schools, rebuild our streets there, constructions there. It’s destroyed there, so they can rebuild.

Let’s imagine you were a mayor: what would you do for refugees?

Molham: We have worker refugees, we have refugees that have diplomas, we have refugees that have many talents. So, we can choose them, we can make circles,  maybe we can make organisations or work centres for them, to give them opportunities to make them members of society, to introduce them as normal people to the society.

Hala, Molham. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
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