Sam’s* Story

*to protect his identity we have changed Sam’s name

When living in Iraq Sam had no formal education as it was not available in the area he grew up in. His family had a small holding and were subsistence farmers raising goats and chickens for an income.

Sam and his remaining members of his family fled Iraq for fear of losing their lives to the local military. The journey was a dangerous one with Sam seeing the surviving members of his family drown in front of his eyes while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya. The loss of his remaining family had left Sam completely alone.

All of Sam’s belongings including the last of his family photos were thrown overboard by the heartless people smugglers who Sam had to trust to help him to get to safety in Europe.

Upon arrival in the UK Sam was understandably very emotionally and psychologically damaged by his recent experiences with little to no English skills. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and suffered nightmares, flashbacks and severe headaches. Sam struggled with mood swings and would be very tearful at one moment and then very angry the next. He was granted refugee status by the home office who recognised Sam’s plight and in June 2017 came to our accommodation in Ipswich.

Sam realised that learning to read and write in English would be essential in order to get on in the UK. Through determination and commitment Sam has managed to make a good start on his education road.

Sam has achieved through determination and commitment some small steps on his education path. Sam has passed Writing to Convey Information entry one City & Guilds module and Skills for Life entry one Writing.

Despite the personal catastrophe Sam had experienced, two years on, with the support of YMCA Trinity Group and the adult health outreach service, Sam has managed to get his mental health into a better place although still in trauma and mourning his family.