Most refugees living in the two centres in Alkmaar come from Syria, with a minority coming from Eritrea, Iraq and various other countries. Some of them have arrived as a family, some have come on their own. A few of these refugees have been granted a temporary residence permit, whereas others are still waiting for one. They all hope to be granted asylum in the Netherlands.
'Imagine if it were you.'
So very very far away from home, family and friends. Often having to flee all of a sudden, having to leave everything behind, because of war and persecution. Without your possessions, without money. The Alkmaar Freedom House project is born from our desire to help these refugees as much as we can.
Learning about Dutch society and language is important. But the refugees in Alkmaar have also expressed the wish to learn about each other's cultures and backgrounds. The refugee centres do offer various courses, and the Alkmaar Freedom House project would like to be a friendly and informal addition to these great initiatives.
People in Syria and Iraq speak Arabic. In Iran and Afghanistan they speak Farsi. Eritrea is a bit different. Almost half of the population is illiterate. The two official languages are Arabic and Tigrinya. Tigrinya is spoken by about 50% of the population. Other major languages are Hidareb and Kunama.
Alkmaar Freedom House has chosen to use Arabic and English as its main languages, with some documents translated into Tigrinya as well.