It took a while for the Syrian Maysoon Qurabi to find their place in the Netherlands. After an intensive integration process, she now feels at home here.
The intensive integration process is a collaboration between the municipality of Voorst, TopTaal, Vluchtelingenwerk and Mens & Welzijn.
Three days a week Maysoon took language lessons at TopTaal, a fourth part of the day the Dutch Council for Refugees taught her more about Dutch society, while the People and Welfare Foundation provided a further four part-days of program counseling. The intensive integration process of the municipality of Voorst is unique. Not only do permit holders learn the Dutch language; they are also intensively assisted with integration in the Netherlands. TopTaal is in charge and, to ensure that everything runs smoothly, it regularly consults with the coordinator of the municipality of Voorst, the client managers, with Mens en Welzijn, with Vluchtelingenwerk, but also with a neighborhood sports coach and a childcare representative.
I am very happy that I learned the language, but also that during the integration I learned so much about the habits in the Netherlands
Maysoon is one of more than five million people who have fled the violence in 2011 since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria. While her husband and oldest son had been staying in the Netherlands for some time, Maysoon traveled to the Netherlands with her youngest son and daughter. Although she did not work in her native country, she serves coffee and tea in a restaurant here in the Netherlands two days a week. She would like to work there as a cook, because cooking is one of her greatest hobbies.
Sport is another hobby that Maysoon enjoys with pleasure. She has swimming lessons and enjoys cycling. It is precisely the interaction that she gets with others that has brought her a lot. 'I have a lot of contact with my neighbors. We teach each other things and sometimes cook for each other. I am very happy that I learned the language, but also that I learned so much about the habits in the Netherlands during the integration. The intensive integration process is really very good. It means that I can manage well here. "
Her daughter and youngest son also benefited greatly from the language lessons of TopTaal. The eldest son has since completed his studies at the Hogeschool and is looking for a job. Her husband Achmed has more difficulty learning the language, but now that he works in a herb garden a few days a week, his integration is progressing more and more. To his regret, he can no longer do the work he did as a car mechanic in Syria.
Maysoon is clear about her dreams for the future. 'I want to start my own restaurant. That's why I really want to work in the kitchen of a restaurant or hotel. Then I can learn the profession well. I am now working on level A2 and want to be done with that quickly. We have very nice teachers, and it is a great school. I want to learn Dutch well, because I need it for my restaurant. " Maysoon does not have any doubts about the restaurant. 'People in the Netherlands think my cooking skills are good. The Achmed language coach who ate with us thought the food was delicious. He also told me to open a restaurant. "