Middle Eastern refugees living in Lancashire open up about being 'saved' by their NHS jobs

Several Middle Eastern refugees have opened up about their new chance at life as nurses in Lancashire.

By Laura Longworth
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 11th March 2022, 10:42 am
Sana, Dima, Imad and Rabei – four new senior healthcare assistants joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Sana, Dima, Imad and Rabei – four new senior healthcare assistants joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Having left their dangerous homeland where they qualified as nurses, they will now work as senior healthcare assistants at either Lancashire Teaching Hospitals or Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trusts.

They are the fourth cohort of medics on the NHS Refugee Nurse Support Pilot Programme and will spend around six months learning about how British hospitals are run. The programme was previously open to refugees already living in Britain, however additional NHS funding has made it accessible to people living overseas.

Imad (37) and Rabei (35), Palestinians born and raised in Lebanon, believe their news jobs could give their respective families a safer future.

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Dima, a 33-year-old Sudanese, who was living in Jordan, says she has always dreamed of becoming a nurse.

Imad said: “It is very emotional for me, having left my family and three children in Lebanon. I am missing them so much, but I know they are proud of me for giving them a future.

“I am so proud that my children will have an education, will live free, will live in a democracy.

“They will grow up in Great Britain: that is incredible and worth the sadness and emotional mess I feel at times. For them to say they are proud of me, means the world to me.”

Rabei added: “I have a three-year-old child and I am so proud to know we will grow up as a family in Great Britain.

“This job will give me dignity, human rights, an education, opportunities to train and learn more and a future for my family.”

The refugees say helping sick NHS patients is giving them renewed purpose, with Houssein, a 28-year-old from Lebanon, commenting: “I have started to adapt to a new culture and hope that this is a fast transition, so that I can start to serve the NHS and the country that saved me from being a refugee in Lebanon.”

Meanwhile, Dima, a 33-year-old Sudanese, who was living in Jordan, said: “So many people have helped me to get here. They have no idea how much their kindness means to me.”

Finally, Sana, 24, of Lebanon, said: “Who knows what the future holds, but I have a future now, and that is all that matters: a future as a nurse, in Lancashire.”