Refugee Stories

Vietnamese welcome Syrian and Iraqi Refugees to Ireland

Members of the Vietnamese community, who came to Ireland as refugees more than 30 years ago, welcomed newly arrived refugees at an intercultural event in a community hall in Co Kildare in January 2016.

Vietnamese Refugee Family

Michael Thai Trung King graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) on 6th November 2015. Michael's parents and older siblings were among the hundreds who fled Vietnam and came to Ireland from 1979 onwards as part of the Vietnamese protection programme.

Michael attributed a great deal of his success to his father who worked hard and encouraged his children to speak English. It was a sadness for him that his father died on the day he submitted his thesis but his mother and sister were proud to be there to see him conferred with his PhD.

Irish Times story 6th November 2015

Earlier stories about the arrival of Vietnamese refugees in Ireland

Refugee from Afghanistan achieves excellent results on VTOS Scheme

The Vocational Training and Opportunity Scheme (VTOS) is a two-year programme, which allows mature students to complete their Junior Cert in the first year and their Leaving Cert in the second. This year Fatema Sadeqi (23) did the Junior Cert and 2 Leaving Cert subjects, physics and chemistry. She achieved A1s in both subjects.

Ms Sadeqi lives with her family in Tullamore, Co Offaly. She was born in Afghanistan, and moved to Iran as a young child and then to Syria. After 3 years in Damascus family were resettled in Ireland as UNHCR programme refugees.

UN Secretary General meets resettled refugees in Ireland

United Nations Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon visited Ireland in 2015 He met resettled refugees and members of the Syrian community in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park on 3rd June. This is a short video of the occasion.

Refugees Tell their Stories

Kurdish Refugees in Leitrim

A group of nearly 100 Kurdish people came to live in Leitrim in 2006 as part of Ireland's resettlement programme. Some families had been driven out of Iranian Kurdistan in 1979 (at the time of the Iranian revolution) and lived in a refugee camp in Iraq for the following 25 years. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 drove them to escape across the border to Jordan where they were moved from one camp to another until they were selected for resettlement in Ireland.

They describe their experiences and their hopes for the future in this article, originally published in the Irish Times on Saturday 30th May 2015. The author, Marese McDonagh has kindly allowed us to reproduce the story here.
Carrick’s Kurds relish a life more ordinary after years as refugees

Ernis Avdic

In 1992 when Ernis Avdic was 12, he and his family were admitted to Ireland as part of a group of 100 Bosnians given refuge. His family fled Brcko in northern Bosnia, close to the Croatian border, when the war came. Ernis' father became separated from the rest of the family and they were not reunited until Ernis was 14.

At first Ernis assumed that his stay in Ireland would be temporary but he has now spent almost two-thirds of his life here and after 23 years it's natural that he has a Dublin accent. His daughter, Ella, was born seven years ago.

He attended Hartstown Community College where he made some good friends early on and they helped him to make a good transition to life in Ireland.

11th October 2014

Hsar Bnay Say

Hsar Bnay Say is a member of the Karen tribe - an ethnic minority, consisting of 7% of the population of Burma/Myanmar. The Karen have been victims of persecution in their homeland for decades and Hsar Bnay Say's family were forcibly relocated to a camp on the border with Thailand when she was very young. She remembers very little of life before the camp where she lived for 10 years. She and her family came to Ireland as UNHCR programme refugees in 2007,when she was 17.

She is now fluent in English and studying healthcare with the intention of working as a carer. Married now, she feels very much part of the community in Castlebar and is delighted to think of the opportunities her daughter Anna Lay will have.

7th October 2014

Moses Ali

Moses Ali was a refugee from South Sudan when the refugee camp in Uganda where he was sheltering was attacked by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). He still has nightmares about the attack that permanently scarred and almost killed him.
He and his wife Celine now live with their children in Kilkenny and they have great hopes for their children's future. Although they have been subjected to racist taunts, they have good neighbours and friends in Kilkenny.

8th October 2014
Racism is a feature of life, no matter where you go.
5th October 2014
My children and I have the greatest gift of all - Freedom

Patricio and Pabla Riesco

The Riescos were the first Chilean refugees from the Pinochet regime to arrive in Ireland and were greeted at Dublin airport by a government delegation. Persecution of the opposition continued in Chile and Pablo found out his brother had been killed a month after it happened.

10th October 2014
My brother was executed

Zena Abbas

Zena Abbas fled with her mother and her baby daughter from Iraq after her father was killed by a car bomb. After 2 years in Damascus they were accepted as refugees in Ireland and 3 years later her husband was able to join his family in Cork. While Zena has settled in Ireland, her mother longs to go home to the family and friends she left.

9th October 2014
Escaping a Nightmare

Mawaheb Elnour

Mawaheb Elnour tells her story at this link. Her parents were refugees driven out of Darfur to settle in Libya where they began raising a family. The war in Libya forced the family to forsake their home in Tripoli for a reception camp in the Tunisian desert. They were resettled in Ireland in 2011.

22nd August 2012
"Resettlement is Like Rebirth"

Melenga Nabiseselo

Melenga Nabiseselo came to Ireland as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She lives now in Monaghan town and became an Irish citizen at the Citizenship Ceremony on 20th January, 2014. She talks of her experience in this story in the Irish Times.
21st January 2014

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