Introducing Iman, SHARE Resettlement Ambassador in Norway...

‘It's my pleasure to share my story with you.  My name is Iman, I am 30 years old and I’m originally from Sudan. My parents travelled to Libya in 1980, and I I was born and grew up in Libya. When the war started in Libya, we were displaced to Tunisia and we lived there for five months in a refugee camp from March 2011, where I worked there as an interpreter for UNHCR.

Before we came to Tunisia, we already had refugee status in Libya, which really helped us to be resettled to Norway so quickly. We travelled together to our new country, me, my mother and six of my siblings.  As none of my family could speak English, I took responsibility for all my family to settle into a nice, quiet life in this new world. 

When we arrived at Oslo airport, we found staff members from the municipality of Drammen were there to receive us, together with one other Sudanese person who was also resettled to the same city. We received help to purchase winter clothes and things for the house, and attended medical appointments the next day.   

After one month, we started to attend school to learn Norwegian.  This was part of the national Introduction Programme, a special programme for refugees and newcomers in Norway.  The programme also includes learning about Norway – not just the language, but also the geography of the country, medical care, kindergarten and many other things. The goal of the 2-year programme is for everyone completing it to be able to get a job or to study. I found my way, and now I am studying here in Norway.

I decided to be an Ambassador for resettlement because I would like to help the refugees who are suffering at the borders and in camps everywhere.  I want to present their case and their needs to governments and other actors whose job it is to take care of them.’

Iman participated as an expert panellist at the SHARE-ATCR Integration Working Group in Norway, presenting her views and opinions on the Introduction Programme and integration in Norway to 40 participants from international organisations, governments, NGOs and cities in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.   The IWG took place on May 20-21 2015 and included a site visit to integration practitioners in Iman’s home municipality of Drammen.