Syrian asylum seeker hoping for better life in Wigan

He spoke about escaping the chaos and bloodshed of the war-torn country and building a new start here in the borough.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:45 am
Abdul Hadi Al Bwinani
Abdul Hadi Al Bwinani

Abdul Hadi Al Bwinani, 37, lives with his family in Golborne and is studying English at Wigan and Leigh College along with his wife Heba.

The couple are doing English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) Entry Level 2 courses at the Parson’s Walk further education facility and the college says they are both doing well in their studies.

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Before that, though, he and his family are having to go through the anxious wait to discover if their application for asylum in the UK has been successful and if they will be granted leave to remain here by the Home Office.

Abdul and his family fled their homeland in the Middle East with the hope of beginning a new life free from the bombing and destruction that they had endured for years.

Abdul, who is a now a father of two, lost everything in the war between those loyal to and opposing the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad and their foreign allies, including a successful business.

In 2011 the family was forced to flee from village to village in an attempt to escape the bombings as the conflict raged around them.

After three years of bloodshed Abdul decided to leave Syria with his son Mohamed and wife Heba, who was pregnant with their second childat the time.

Their journey to safety took them through Lebanon, Algeria and finally Libya, where they sailed for Italy and the promise of asylum in Europe.

“We went to sea at five in the morning,” said Abdul. “We heard about another boat that left before us that night.

“We were 235 people on a rickety fishing boat. We stayed for 13 hours in the Libyan boat until the International Red Cross came and rescued us at the last minute.”

After boarding the ship bound for Europe, Abdul learned that the fishing boat which had left shortly before them had sunk.

Out of the 350 people who had been on board the doomed vessel, only 15 survived.

Abdul and his family continued their journey by going to Denmark, where they found work and settled for four years before being threatened with deportation back to Syria.

In fear for his life Abdul and his family left for the UK travelling through Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow, arriving in Golborne in 2019.

Abdul said: “When we arrived in the UK, I couldn’t describe the feeling of joy and happiness on my face, my wife and children.”

Abdul and Heba are now hoping their English studies at Wigan and Leigh College will signal a new start for them in the next chapter of their lives.

Information about the college’s ESOL course available to help people for whom English is not their native language can be found online at

Wigan and Leigh College is also launching a number of new courses for adults in September. Find out more about them at at

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