Welcome to Prague in Czech
Trading the tropics for frigid European countries: very first Myanmar refugees depart Kuala Lumpur for resettlement into the Czech Republic. © UNHCR/Y.Ismail
PRAGUE, Czech Republic, October 31 (UNHCR) - With inquisitive, passionate smiles and laughter, 23 Myanmar refugees touched down at Prague-Ruzyne International Airport belated Thursday afternoon, bringing the Czech Republic in to the ranks of eight European Union countries that annually open up their doors to refugees through formal resettlement programmes.
Shrugging off a 24-hour journey across seven times zones and a fall of 30 degrees Celsius between Kuala Lumpur and Prague the refugees, already clad in hot winter months clothing, informed waiting Czech reporters of these pleasure.
"i will be definitely looking forward to my new home into the Czech Republic, " stated Sui Zi. "I also greatly desire to learn new skills, which can help me personally one day to greatly help my local country, Myanmar."
The pilot resettlement programme, authorized because of the cabinet in Summer this year, "is area of the Czech Republic's international policy, providing humanitarian help in which it may make a positive influence, " stated Katerina Stehlikova, associated with Czech Indoor Ministry.
Getting a resettlement nation is another milestone for the Czech Republic, which appeared from decades of isolation under Soviet domination as an element of Czechoslovakia under 20 years ago. Born as a country in 1993, the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004.
The Czech pilot programme is geared towards assistance to vulnerable refugees; top consideration was given to survivors of trauma and refugees with really serious medical dilemmas or protection needs. One six-year-old man is anticipated to undergo a critical heart operation into the Czech Republic.
After their particular arrival in Prague, the five households with regards to young children were taken fully to a refugee protection center in Straz, some a couple of hours north for the Czech money, for 10 times of initial enrollment and health check-ups, aided by a social worker and an interpreter. After that they will certainly start intensive language education and specialized orientation programs on centre to learn about their brand new homeland. Within six months, the authorities hope to discover personal rooms for every family members.
Hawaii Integration Programme offers assistance with housing and work also free intensive language course, and regional NGOs also play in important role in aiding the latest arrivals settle in.
A few of the refugees had spent almost a decade in exile in Malaysia, and resettlement ended up being regarded as the only real solution for them. Inspite of the daunting changes these were facing in moving up to now away, they looked forward to their new everyday lives with optimism.
"We've discovered that obtained freedom when you look at the Czech Republic, which can be not the same as Myanmar, " Faw Lai Tha, a 34-year-old ethnic Chin guy, said before leaving Malaysia together with his pregnant spouse. "they could work wherever they need in serenity and that can learn whatever they need. In Burma we're banned to master or even to reside in a peaceful environment."
Another refugee, Biak Hnin, additionally a Chin, conformed that "we're exceedingly excited to start out a life in which we will be safe from torture and persecution." Although he had been a farmer in Myanmar, he said he along with his spouse "will take any job we can: cooking, serving in a restaurant or taking care of facilities."
Speaking prior to the family left Kuala Lumpur, he along with his partner had been also delighted that their particular six children would obtain a good knowledge when you look at the Czech Republic. "i am not sure what they'd prefer to learn the essential, " he stated. "They may be only excited the possibility to find out something."
By Marta Miklusakova in Prague, Czech Republic