Sisters Amani and Heba lived a happy, safe life in Syria until 2013 when war broke out, compromising their safety, forcing them to flee. Fleeing Syria, the sisters, along with millions of others, arrived in Lebanon where they were subject to racial abuse and a poor quality of life. Amani and Heba resided in Lebanon for five years and during this period, they were unable to work or study, which had a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

Upon arriving in the UK, the sisters were put in touch with Migrant Help and met Annemarie, their adviser, for the first time. Reflecting on their arrival in the UK, Amani and Heba said, “we weren’t scared of anything because we had already lost everything, so what else can we lose”. They say that their first night in the UK was “so special” and it felt like they were “born again”.

The sisters say that Annmarie “was like an angel coming into our lives… she’s helped us rebuild our lives step by step”. As their adviser, Annmarie has helped the young women navigate their new life in the UK, and to overcome several hurdles, including helping them to find new accommodation when they were faced with the prospect of becoming homeless.

Amani and Heba are extremely grateful for Annmarie’s support and will never forget the moment when she arranged an emergency midwife appointment when Amani feared she was losing her unborn daughter.

Now rebuilding their stolen lives in the UK, Amani and Heba are turning their passion for cooking into a career. Amani runs an online cooking course and Heba works as a chef assistant at the Big Greek Bus in Folkestone. They dream of one day opening their own café, offering traditional dishes and they’d love to have their own TV cooking show.