28 years ago, from a bleak, marginalised, oppressive, corrupt and racially discriminated region I came to life. The most basic of civil, political, educational, social and economic rights were denied to us, as basic as speaking our own language, yet I learnt two more, Arabic and English.  I started teaching English from 2010 to 2011. By the end of the year, I completed my BA in English Language Literature and in 2012 I fled from Syria walking 8 hours to Iraqi Kurdistan as I refused to do compulsory (military) servic After suffering many difficult and life threatening circumstances I decided to leave for the UK. The main reason was the language as I already speak English it would make life easier for me, help make new friends and relationships to integrate into the new society, also in the hope of completing my studying.

In less than 3 months in Cardiff I got my visa. Meanwhile I was looking for jobs and contacting universities. I was asked by the Home Office to leave my accommodation after 28 days so I became homeless. It was very difficult to start a new life without knowing about the law. One cannot open a bank account without having an address and one cannot get paid benefit without having an account. It is almost impossible to rent a house without a work contract. I left for Manchester and presented myself to Cornerstone, and here is where everything started to sort out and I began my new life.

Every member of staff has touched or left a finger print on my life and success. Julie with her kindness, Julian and Howard for their continuous support, the angel Sister Lucy with her love, the friendly Marjorie and Ann with their smiles, and lastly Angela (you can delete letter A at the end) the very hard-working lady, who comes first and leaves last, with her inspiration, selflessness and endless support. They make a proper family that I feel better working with than staying alone at home at weekends. To pay their kindness back, I volunteered for 6 months at Cornerstone

and they raised me from homelessness to be a staff member helping vulnerable people with the same issues I had. With their support I got my own flat and I have been awarded a scholarship to do a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Warwick University in September. I feel as sorry as excited because whenever I meet new people a time comes to leave them.

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