Stunning… truly a transport of delight

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

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New Routes


Norwich Gaol became home for HENRY CABELL and SUSANNAH HOLMES in 1784, both awaiting transportation to Australia. They left Britain, never to return, but they made good in Australia. Henry became the new colony’s first Chief Constable. Susannah became known as one of the 100 most important women in Australia’s history. Their story lies at the heart of The Transports.

ANAS (name changed to protect identity) aged 28, worked as a dentist at the University of Damascus for five years before he was forced to leave. The Syrian government regime put him on their hit list. “Being in the medical profession in Syria is very dangerous. The regime thought we might be against them,” Anas said. In July, 2015, he made his move. Knowing that his wife and one-year-old son wouldn’t be able to make the dangerous trek, he promised he would arrange a safer, legal route when he was settled. The part he remembers most vividly about the journey has become an unwavering image of the European refugee crisis: the boat ride in small, plastic dinghies packed with terrified children and adults.

Anas had learned English in school and heard there were opportunities in the medical field in Britain, so he made his way here. After being granted a Leave to Remain (a legal immigration status that grants protection for five years), he bounced around refugee camps across the country for months before finding John (name also changed). John had a flat in Norwich with an extra room and had signed up to host a refugee through the website Homes for Syrians. Anas moved in, and started studying for an IELTS exam so he can work or study in the UK. He hopes to find a job as a dental trainee or receive a scholarship for a masters programme in dentistry. As soon as possible, he wants to bring over his wife and baby.

This story comes from the Eastern Daily Press 3.9.16