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‘I went from living in a bombed-out refugee camp with 10,000 people to my dream job as an NHS nurse’

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A refugee has gone from living in a bombed-out camp with 10,000 people to her dream job as an NHS nurse in North London.

Fayzeh Rachid, 22, was born in the Al Rashidieh Camp in Lebanon and studied medicine there despite violence often breaking out around her.

She is one of five refugees, all in their 20s, who were born in Lebanon of Palestinian heritage and have been recruited by the Central and North West London (CNWL) Trust as part of the UK’s first international recruitment scheme to increase the number of nurses working in the NHS.

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She told MyLondon: “I applied to jobs at hospitals at home but got rejected because of my nationality,” she said today (November 5) at the official ‘welcome’ event.

“I want to prove to my family that they raised me well, and to be an example to other women. I want to be an example for other girls to reach out for their dreams despite a cruel reality.

‘Going to the UK feels like being reborn again in a different place, a different culture and amongst different people’ – Rami Mansour

“A big thank you to the NHS for letting me be part of this family.”

In the past year, the 10,000-resident refugee camp where she lived has seen intense fighting involving rocket launchers, machine guns and hand grenades, according to local news agencies.

Fayzeh earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Sciences from Lebanese University in October 2020 after studying at schools set up by the United Nations inside her refugee camp.

Like her peers, she has emphasised the struggle to obtain a job in the medical field in her home country, despite being well-qualified.

“I applied to jobs at hospitals at home but got rejected because of my nationality,” she said today (November 5) at the official ‘welcome’ event.

“I want to prove to my family that they raised me well, and to be an example to other women. I want to be an example for other girls to reach out for their dreams despite a cruel reality.

“A big thank you to the NHS for letting me be part of this family.”

Now Fayzeh will train to become a nurse at St Pancras Hospital and will start a new life in the capital alongside Rami Mansour, another of the five refugees.

He said: “When I got accepted to work for the NHS, it was like a beam of light shone down from the dark hole I was stuck in.

“The NHS gave me a chance. This is not just a job. This is a new chapter in my life.”

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(L-R) twin sisters Rawan and Yara Kassab, Mohammad Al Qanawan, Rami Mansour and Fayzeh Rachid,

twins Rawan and Yara, who both turned 21 today, say they are excited about their new life in the capital, despite feeling homesick for their family back in Lebanon.

“Adjusting to a completely new culture will be very difficult but we are lucky to have each other,” they told MyLondon.

“Our grandmother was taken away during the civil war and no one one helped our mum to find her because of her nationality.

“And then our Mum had children growing up in an unsafe country. This is a new phase for our family.

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“So our thank you today is not just from us, but from our mother.”

They say they are also excited to make the most of London living having already visited the London Eye, which they described as ‘marvellous’.

The group of five arrived at Heathrow on September 25, before completing a month studying culture and professional values of nursing in the UK in Liverpool.

They are now working as Health Care Assistance and being supported to officially register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and beyond.

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(L-R) Fayzeh Rachid, twin sisters Rawan and Yara Kassab, Mohammad Al Qanawan and Rami Mansour with Chief Nurse an CNWL Trust Maria O’Brian

Rami Mansour and Mohammad Al Qanawan, will both start roles at Hawthorne Intermediate Care Unit at Hillingdon Hospital.

“My ultimate goal is to settle in and become a hardworking individual serving the British community. I thank you all and I wish there was a way I could pay you all back,” Rami’s thank you speech concluded today.

“The pay back is being a great nurse,” Chief Nurse Maria O’Brien said.

“The large majority of people in this country will welcome you with open arms as we have. But don’t expect this from everyone.

“I can’t imagine what it must have been like. We will do our best to help you. You are all incredibly well qualified and a nurse is a nurse.”

CNWL’s Chief Executive Claire Murdoch said: “I’m really pleased to welcome these talented and qualified people.

“They have experienced a life many of us can scarcely comprehend and now have a new beginning with us in the NHS and CNWL.

“We will provide support and training so their skills can be used right now, and wherever their futures take them. Welcome to CNWL.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/health/i-went-living-bombed-out-22079868