SYRIANS who were forced to flee the civil war in their homeland to make a new life in East Renfrewshire have told their stories at St Andrew’s Church in Barrhead.

The event, hosted by East Renfrewshire Council, was held as part of a week-long programme marking Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year had the theme ‘Torn from Home’. 

Telling their tales of coming from Syria to Scotland were Tahani, 32, and Rachid, 14. 

Tahani told how she had sought asylum in Egypt before coming to Scotland in November, 2016, and is now attending West College Scotland and studying for an ESOL (English as second or other language) and care course.

Rachid is a second-year pupil at Barrhead High School, having arrived in Scotland from Lebanon in December, 2015.

Councillor Colm Merrick, East Renfrewshire’s community services and community safety convener, said: “When most of us think of home, we think of a secure place, a safe place and a happy place. That is why we say ‘home is where the heart is’. 

“While most of us sit safely within our homes, we are only aware of the experience of those torn from home for short moments via the media, so hearing from these brave people first hand is especially harrowing. 

“I want to thank our families and residents from the Barrhead community for coming to this event and telling their stories. 

“Our aim is for our communities to provide a place where our friends, who have been torn from home, can feel secure and at ease once again – effectively to help create a home from home. 

“It is extremely important that we continue to listen to the stories told by Tahani, Rachid and their community to help ensure lessons are learnt and future generations aren’t torn from home and suffer the way they have.”