Syrian woman to teach Arabic language classes in Londonderry

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A Syrian woman who moved to Londonderry with her family two months ago, is to teach classes in Arabic in the city.

23-year-old Hasina Hasan says the people of the city have made her, her two sisters and her mother and father feel so welcome since they first arrived.

And she says she is delighted to give something to the people of the city by teaching the classes, alongside Sarah Kadar who volunteers with the North West Academy teaching English.

The Hasan family left Syria in 2014, and for the past year have been living in Turkey. During her time in Turkey Hasina worked for an organisation teaching Turkish to the Syrian women.

“Derry is really good,” said Hasina. “People are so friendly and everyone we meet smiles and says hello. We are very happy and our neighbours have been very good. Life is very different here, and we feel very safe.”

She revealed how her two sisters already speak English however her mother and father have no English and are currently taking lessons with Sarah.

“I speak Arabic, Kurdish, some Turkish and some German,” she said. “My first language is Kurdish, and my family and friends speak Kurdish. But in Syria we study in Arabic and that is why I speak good Arabic.

Sara Kadar who teaches English to the Syrian refugees three times a week, explained that some of them have no English, however they are making steady progress with the language.

Jo Bird who is helping the Syrian families settle in explained that a number of English words come from Arabic including kebab, and the famous Bismillah (in the name of God) from Bohemian Rhapsody.

And she revealed how previous classes were attended by local people who want to learn words to speak to the Syrians, linguists, people who want to go on holiday in Arabic countries and local people who often travel to Arabic countries for work.

A four week taster session in Arabic is to begin next Monday. July 18 from 1.30pm - 3pm or 6.30pm to 8pm To attend contact 02871264132.