Khadeja – 'Everyone Waves to You' by Julia Hall 2024

(Khadeja, Syria – 140 x 85cm)

Khadeja came from Syria in the autumn of 2018 aged 35. She, her husband and three children had already spent five years in Jordan before being brought to the UK under the Community Settlement Scheme. They expected the cold and were prepared with winter clothes, but it was so dark, it was the longest winter of her life.

Khadeja’s dream was to be safe with her family, but the emotions were overwhelming. She needed to be a mum to her children, but missed her own mother and family so much. She cried a lot and didn’t know if it was because she was happy or sad. After being settled in a small Devon village, in their first few weeks they barely had time to eat, they were so busy with appointments. The children all had chicken pox as soon as they arrived. The first months were so difficult, she felt very alone with no one to speak Arabic with. She will never forget the moment when, after three months in England, she dropped the children at school, took a deep breath, looked out across the fields and knew she must decide to start this new life properly. After six months she started to feel settled, mostly because of the community around the children’s primary school. The village was such a small place, it was easy to meet people and feel involved – everyone waves to you.

She does worry about her children growing up in a different culture from her own. They all speak Arabic at home, but sometimes she hears the children speaking English to each other. They also teach them their religion at home, as the nearest mosque is too far away. Following several years of study, her husband recently graduated with an Engineering degree.

After arriving in the UK, and finding the community so warm and welcoming, she decided to repay her thanks to them, and now works as a Community Resettlement Ambassador, helping community groups prepare for other refugees arriving. Khadeja has also been helping the British Red Cross to shape a new Education Resource Programme, and has shared her experiences at a local and national level, encouraging more community groups to come forward. She doesn’t mind being called a ‘refugee’, in fact there is perhaps even some pride in that.

SKU JU/HA005 Artist

Additional information

Dimensions 140 × 85 cm


1 in stock

Get in touch