Refugee Week Ireland 2024

19 June 2024

Copy of Copy of Refugee day 24

To celebrate Refugee Week in Ireland and World Refugee Day on the 20th of June around the world, we will be sharing stories of refugees, we pay homage to their journeys and the vibrant diversity and positive difference they infuse into our world.

NCP stands in awe of the immeasurable bravery, resilience, and strength displayed by millions of displaced individuals worldwide. World Refugee Day serves as a global celebration and tribute to refugees from around the globe. It is an occasion that urges us to acknowledge the challenges they face and recognise the extraordinary contributions they make to our society.

Yahye's Story

Yahye Mohammad grew up in Somalia but after finishing school in 2017 he moved to Turkey to continue his higher education there. After achieving his bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Yahye returned to Somalia in 2022.

It’s well documented internationally that the situation in Somalia has been volatile for the past ten years with an ongoing civil war. When Yahye returned home, he started working in a government institution, which was incredibly dangerous due to the country's instability. He knew he could be a target of extremist groups at any point who viewed the government workers as representing a secular organisation and a threat to their more conservative values. During his time there, it became clear that he was unsafe to continue living in Somalia.

Unlike living in Turkey, where Yahye could do normal daily activities like having a picnic with friends in the park, in Somalia he constantly had to consider what he was doing, where he was going, and who he was with so it wouldn't make him vulnerable to violence. Life in Somalia involved being on high alert 24/7. Not only for him but also for his family and friends, unfortunately, a sense of danger has been normalised there.

Ireland was the first place that he could reach easily to seek asylum. Yahye learned English through his studies in Turkey and from speaking with foreign friends and peers in his international relations major. His experience in Turkey also exposed him to diverse cultures, and having that background made it easy to adapt to life in Ireland.

For the first month and a half after arriving in Dublin, while waiting for his work permit, Yahye needed to fill his days and keep his mind occupied, so he began volunteering in the asylum seekers' reception centers. On top of Turkish and English, Yahwe also knows Arabic. His language skills allowed him to work voluntarily as a translator for the reception center. At the end of December 2023, after a little over a month in Ireland, he was transferred to Limericks Accommodation Centre. There, he began volunteering as a translator with the Limerick Education and Training Board, which he continues today. He also kept busy by becoming involved with the GAFF Limerick, a nonprofit focused on building Limerick's arts and theatre community. His volunteer translation services allowed these organizations to reach Somali, North African, and Turkish communities.

Finally, after 7 months, Yahyeh received his work permit. He has already applied for jobs, hoping to find an opportunity in the social work sector. However, he is open to any opportunities that

come his way. With his work permit, he also plans to enrol in advanced English courses at the local university to improve his language skills.

Yahye used to think of “home” as family, and in fact, one of the reasons he returned to Somalia after his studies was because he missed his family and friends. However, after returning to Somalia and confronting the dangerous reality there and the constant feeling of having to be alert and careful, his understanding and definition of home have evolved. He now feels home is where you feel safe. Where you don’t always have to worry about your physical or mental safety. For him home is Ireland.