The family Yousef arrived in the Netherlands in the fall of 2015. There is father Zaid and mother Hanan and they have three children of their own, the boys Karim and Nabil and one daughter Farah. Meriam, their niece of 18 years old, has joined the family on their escape from their hometown Aleppo. Meriam lost her parents in the siege of the city and Zaid and Hanan took her into their home.
Zaid, 48 years old, was the proud owner of a restaurant and his wife Hanan (45 years) and children often helped him to build the restaurant into one of the best of Aleppo. Farah is twelve years old. She speaks some English she picked up by talking to foreign guests at the restaurant. Since starting school, she’s learning her first Dutch as well. Nabil is a quiet young boy of 15. He loves reading and enjoys playing football. His English is quite good and he is fascinated by other countries. Karim is 19 and he is a bit of a character. He has a strong temperament. He has strong opinions and a strong sense of justice. His father had once caught him hanging out with rebels. It was the moment he decided to flee Aleppo. Meriam, the niece, is 18 years old and very withdrawn. She has gone through a lot of pain and the whole family tries to cheer her up and help her find a way in the family and in her new country.
The restaurant was destroyed in the fighting. Zaid and Hanan decided to find a way to leave Syria, especially to keep Karim, the eldest brother away from taking up arms. Zaid and Hanan spent most of their savings to buy passages to Europe. They survived a dangerous boat trip to Greece and intended to reach the United Kingdom. Most of the family spoke at least some English and they expected to be able to earn a living there. The family ended up in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, they are very happy to meet up with Mahmoud again, the brother of Zaid, who left Syria three years ago. He and his family received refugee status and just moved into a new home.
The following stories are their personal experiences. The family is working hard to understand their new country, the language, and the people. Join us in checking out to see how they are doing.