Kundinsikt The UNHCR Workshop

The reception centre must have meaningful activities

The UNHCR Workshop


UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency): work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

Ahmad Armnazy is from Aleppo, Syria. He speaks both English and Arabic and which is why we hired him to work as an interpreter at the UNHCR workshop. Though after hearing more about the workshop he decided to participate the whole day. In this blog post Ahmad will tell you more about himself and the insights he got from the workshop.

Ahmad Armnazy is twenty years old and comes originally from Aleppo, Syria. He came to Sweden in the beginning of November 2015 and is still waiting on the decision regarding if he is allowed to stay or not.

– I have studied German back in Syria but I thought it was a very is though language. I also heard good things about Sweden so that is why I wanted to come to Sweden.

Ahmed says he had a great life before the war, studying marketing at the university. Then the war came and it was no longer safe and he decided to do the long and hard trip to Sweden.

– My parents are old and they wouldn’t manage this kind of trip. That is why we decided that my older brother should stay and take care of them. Since I am young it would be easiest for me to survive the trip to Sweden and it would probably be easiest for me to adapt to a new country and culture. They really hope I will make a good life here in Sweden.

Do you think the war will end soon?

– I am optimistic and I really hope it will.

Can you tell us about your journey from Syria to Sweden?

– It was a long journey. As an asylum seeker I had to cross every boarder by foot and I had no visa for entering Europe so I couldn’t just buy a ticket and fly. Instead I went by train, bus and walked, I walked a long way, for several days and it was really hard.

Today Ahmed is living with a Swedish family.

– It’s great. They are so nice and they help me a lot and teach me Swedish. We read books and one of my favorites is ”Lasse Majas detektivbyrå”. It’s nice living with a family instead of a crowded reception centre.

What did you think about the workshop?

I really enjoyed being part of the workshop. I even met and interviewed a man from my hometown. I don’t know if there are any quick solutions to all the problems we talked about during the workshop, but I think it was a great initiative and that the refugees at the reception centre really appreciated that we listened to them.

Do you have any main insights from the workshop that you would like to share?

– Language is the key! You need to learn Swedish as soon as possible. Waiting time is also really hard! I don’t know what to do about it but perhaps we should talk to Migrationsverket and explain how the refugees feel. Today people are disappointed regarding waiting time, the lack of information and their situation in general. But you also have to consider that Sweden has taken in a lot of refugees and there are some countries that didn’t even open their boarders.

Do you think the refugees understand why the asylum process takes so long?

– I don’t know but I think the lack of communication, perhaps both ways, is a big problem, also I think that we must try to make the waiting time easier. They need to have something to do. It must be more activities at the centre, for example psychical activities, activities that are good for your health. Those who speaks English could perhaps teach those who don’t speak English. It’s really hard for those who can’t communicate without an interpreter. You think too much if you don’t have anything to do and today people just sit and wait.

Ahmad Armnazy (standing) was interviewed by Emma Patel.