How Rise & Shine crèche supports the Syrian refugees in Dundee

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Zainab knows oppression. As a Syrian refuge Zainab and her family arrived in Dundee about a year ago. Many families like Zainab’s were in grave danger of losing their lives during their escape from their war-torn homeland. And in the process they lost everything except for the belongings the carried with them. Many, like Zainab travelled with their young children; their lives shattered, their futures bleak. We at the DIWC work together with other organisations in Dundee to give them a fresh start.

On arriving in Dundee, like all other refugees Zainab and her family were relocated to their homes by the Angus Council which helps them settle into their new lives. The transformation process has not been easy for Zainab and her family, primarily due to the language barrier that many refugees face. Recognising this problem, the Angus council organised English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) classes. Many of the participants attend classes not only to learn English but also take the opportunity to get more information about living in Dundee. For instance, to learn about the education system, activities for young children and much more.

Despite the opportunity provided to them to learn English, many people like Zainab are excluded because of the lack of childcare facilities available to them. Not only is the cost of childcare prohibitive, but their difficulty with English also prevents them from accessing these services. Additionally, the traumatic experience of their difficult journey to the UK frequently cause separation anxiety and parents are afraid to leave their children alone.

During a Dundee Voluntary Action event, our Rise & Shine manager Amina met with Angus council officials leading to a discussion on how to help parents like Zainab. DIWC’s Rise & Shine provides an on-site childcare service that enables participants to attend classes or events while their children are being taken care off. We ensure that we provide the highest standard of care so parents like Zainab can reassured in the knowledge that their children are in a safe and enjoyable environment. We also provide age-appropriate toys and games such as Duplo, building bricks, soft play equipment and much more along with healthy snacks whenever required.

As many of the children speak Arabic and know very little English, we assign crèche workers who are bilingual. This allows the children to communicate with their minders. The interaction between crèche workers and children have provided a platform for the children to build their confidence and develop a sense of familiarity with the Scottish culture. By attending our mobile crèche service over the last one year many of the children have learned English enabling them to communicate with other members of the community, thereby enhancing their integration into society. Our mobile crèche service also helps build the confidence of many of the children, providing them with a smooth transition to nursery.

Many mothers like Zainab have benefited from the Rise & Shine service. The flexible childcare service that we offer has given them the freedom to participate in various activities, while their children are cared for in a safe and conducive environment.