Documentary following 12-year-old Adel who had to leave his home in Syria three years ago and move to the UK as a refugee.
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Hi. Welcome to my house.
My name is Adel. Come on in.
I'm 12 years old and I live in Bristol with my three sisters -
Sara, Ola and Lylas - and my new baby brother Omar.
I do everything with my best friend Elijah.
Oh, my gosh, can I take your picture?
But that's only half my story.
I didn't grow up in the UK.
I was born in Syria.
I only came to the UK three years ago.
The war started when I was seven years old
and my family had to leave our home country.
I want everyone around the world to know that being a refugee is not
as easy as it looks.
It took me a long time to settle here.
And other refugees are still fleeing the war to Bristol.
There must be something I can do...
Do you know if they speak English?
..to make them feel a bit more at home.
Today is the start of my third summer in the UK.
This is beans and then this is aubergine.
We've got watermelons and cheese.
'When I moved here, it was the biggest thing to happen in my life.
'In Syria, life was more comfortable but then, when we had to come here,'
it felt like we kind of had to start from scratch again.
It's all tangled.
One thing that helped us was meeting other Syrians in Bristol.
I like that bracelet.
'And today, we're all having a big party to celebrate Eid.
'Everyone gets together.
'There might be some new refugees
'because people are still trying to go to a safe country.'
All my friends, like here, some of them are refugees
and some of them are not.
Two or three families come to Bristol from Syria, like,
every, maybe, five or six months.
I can remember myself being in their position three years ago
and I felt anxious.
These are Badr and Ahmed.
Ahmed is a bit like me but he's been here only for four months.
'I feel lucky that I left Syria before it became a war zone,'
but some people are not quite as lucky.
Lots of our family is in Syria.
My nan is in Syria right now and I can't get to her.
'You're here celebrating, but then there are people back in Syria
'who are suffering.'
Syria feels a long way away from here
and missing family did make it hard to settle.
We've also moved around a lot since we arrived here.
I came back through Cardiff and then
we crossed the bridge, and then we came to Bristol.
I felt scared because it was totally different from Syria.
Syria might be somewhere there, going, like, there.
I can speak the language properly.
The language wasn't my first language, which is Arabic.
When people showed me around, it made me feel more welcome.
'I think there are lots of boys and girls that arrive here, like,
'every few months, and it would feel good,'
to help out to someone that's my age, make them feel welcome.
'I think I should do that.
'But I can't do it alone.'
'Tonight, my best friend Elijah has invited me around for a sleepover.'
I want to ask Elijah if he wants to help me to introduce
new Syrian refugees to Bristol.
Now I'm ready.
No, no, no, no. No, no, no.
-Is it alive?
-You have a go, you have a go.
'Just like me, Elijah wasn't born here.
'He is from Canada.
'When I met Adel, we both came to school on the same day and we were
'both new students.'
-Get down, get down!
'I can't say I understand how he feels cos I don't,'
but I'd be fuming if I had to leave
because of like a war or something.
Where is it? Oh, there it is.
There it is. OK.
-I got it.
We could potentially never have came here...
at the same time and could like never have been friends,
if you think about it. Once you settle in and, like,
if you enjoy being here, then you think of it as home.
To me, my true home is Syria.
Yeah. If you came, like, willingly,
it would probably be more home to you, but...
Part of me says, like,
you should start to call it home because, like,
you never know when or if the war's ever going to end.
As soon as I, like, made good friends, like you, I knew I was
So...my plan over the summer is to help, like,
new Syrian refugees settle in Bristol.
So would you like to help?
Yeah, totally, yeah. I feel like...
That would be really good.
I should help them with my best friend as much as I can,
-that would be good.
I know a boy, so maybe we could help him out and show him around.
'It made me feel pretty excited that we were going to do this together
'and not alone.'
Because he's my best friend.
Instructions. Yes! He died.
I think it's really great that Adel's going to do that for others...
..because he doesn't have to,
but he chooses to because he knows what it's like.
'I think we're going to stay up until, like, I don't know,
'11 or 12 o'clock.'
Ahmed is starting a new life in the UK
and this is his first summer here.
-'We wake up in the morning and remove all our things.
'In Syria, we had four rooms
'but here we live in one and can't move around properly.'
Ahmed's dad used to run a business in Syria,
but has had to find a new job.
So, for now, the five of them are living in this small flat.
-We do everything in this room.
'I stay inside all day because
'I don't know much English or my way around here.
'We only know two shops.'
Yes! I win.
When fighting started in Ahmed's hometown,
life there changed completely.
-One of my friends died when a bomb fell
near a park they were playing in,
so, after that, we stopped going outside.
We would count the bombs. Every five seconds, we would hear one.
When it was bad, we'd hide in the bathroom.
We even ate in there.
It was really hard finding food.
We didn't have enough gas, so it was hard to cook food properly.
So we had to leave.
The ball go under the bed and then my brother tried to get it.
-We get bored, so we invent new games to play.
'I would feel better and less scared if I got to know more of Bristol.'
I remember when Bristol felt strange and new.
And Ahmed's family aren't the only refugees
trying to start a new life here.
My name is Negervan, I'm 12 years old,
and me and my brother Haider, we love to dance.
Negervan and Haider only arrived here eight months ago.
Negervan has just started
going to my school.
I've seen him around and we've talked a bit.
When I came to UK, I didn't know how to speak English.
In the school, I read 73 books in a whole month.
I got a prize. I said, "What?"
I was surprised.
My parents was really proud of me.
'I had friends there.
'We bought a house and were settling in when the war started.'
-Our house, it might be destroyed, I don't know.
I've drawn this plane bombing this house.
The window is broken.
When I wake up, I remember the war.
When I brush my teeth, I remember, and even when I play.
-There were lots of soldiers,
tanks, people were killed and homes were destroyed.
-I saw lots of helicopters
and they were shooting all around us.
-I've drawn me and my dad at the airport,
coming to the UK for a new life and to be happy.
Starting that new life,
a new school and making friends hasn't been that easy.
-There's a boy at school who told me,
"Go back to Syria," and I say, "If I do,
"I will be killed."
If I had more friends, I'd be happier here.
It will be interesting to find out
how Negervan and his brother are getting on
at school and things like that.
Oh, so close.
So how's your English been going?
-Good. I'm getting better and better.
How did you find making friends?
Hard because they don't let me to play.
How did your brother find making friends?
When I made friends, I felt more settled in the UK.
More friends like best friends?
How do you spend your time?
I spend my time with dancing and...art.
I draw in my spare time as well.
Sometimes, there will be this, like, art event.
-And some of my friends are going to come there,
-so would you like to come?
-And your brother?
Would you like to go?
I love it.
Thank you, guys.
-I'm excited now.
Ahmed has been spending most of his summer inside and he is also facing
one of the biggest challenges for new arrivals from Syria.
-Bristol is new to me
and I don't speak English,
'which makes it hard for me to make friends.'
Back in Syria, Ahmed only spoke Arabic.
-'The hardest bit for me is the tenses.'
And people talk very fast in English.
'Surf the internet.'
Surf the internet. Wait.
-'Surf the internet.'
-Surf the internet.
-I'm starting a new school soon and I'm worried that
I won't understand the lessons or the tests.
Chopping... Chopping board.
I will learn English every day and I will improve my English.
It would be good to meet up with Ahmed soon,
We're heading into town to see Negervan and Haider.
They might tell us, like, how to actually use the actual camera.
'We're all going to an art day put on by these guys, Felix and Jack.
'They do some summer workshops for kids in Bristol.'
-How are you?
Hi. My name's Elijah.
Nice to meet you.
So are you guys looking forward to today?
Today, we're learning how to use spray paint.
There's other people I know here.
My sister's come and also my Syrian friend Badr.
Going to get a can of spray paint each and then you're going to have a
little go on the wall here.
I can see you're dying to get started.
The closer you hand is, the thinner the line you're going to get.
So if you hold it further back...
you're going to get a thicker line. OK?
We're really excited to have a go.
So it's starting to drip.
That's it. Brilliant!
Try doing a curvy line.
Better than mine.
I just painted Adel's name because he's my best friend.
That's the basics of spray painting already.
How do you make it?
I'm teaching everybody how to make a boom sound in the paper.
So you do this, yeah, and then you do that.
I ripped it!
It was really fun and it makes a loud noise when you whack the paper.
Right, so, we're all going to go outside and have a paint
cos the sun is out and do something
about friends and making new friends.
-Can we do it in Arabic?
Yeah, we can do it in Arabic.
-In Somali as well?
-In Somali as well.
We could say "amigo".
OK, so it's an international friendship.
OK, that's brilliant. Let's do that.
Roughly about here and then we'll blend it in.
I did a word in Somali.
It means "friends".
Maybe get closer, so you can cover these bits.
It's OK. We're trying to make it a bit better.
So who's going to do the blue and who's going to do the red?
Coloured it in like a design. I put blue and then mix into red.
-Are we finished?
Yeah, I reckon you guys are nearly done here.
I'm impressed by the final piece.
I think it's really good.
Can I get a high five off all of you, please?
All along the line. Come on, faster.
I've never actually met any boys from Syria and I was
actually kind of laughing and joking with them.
I would like to meet up with them again.
I wouldn't really be able to tell
that they hadn't been here for a while because they really...
They really seem like it.
I met Haider today for the first time
and when he told me, "I'm from Syria..."
I'm from the same country, so I felt a bit happy.
I would love to see him again and play with him.
-I really had fun with you today.
-I hope I see you again.
-Bye. See you soon.
I feel so very happy, good...because I have...
Now I have so many friends.
So did you guys make friends today?
-Yeah, so many.
It was quite fun.
It was great to meet you guys.
-It will be nice to see you at school again.
Maybe we should meet up again.
-Yeah. Let's go.
Now summer is nearly over, we have just one last thing left to do.
It's very noisy.
Yes, and also very flat.
Be nice to get it pumped up today.
'We're meeting Ahmed to see if he can get to know the city better.'
I don't think he has any idea of what's happening,
so he will be quite surprised when he finds out.
-Hello, my name's Elijah.
-My name's Ahmed.
-How are you?
-Fine, how are you?
I know you haven't seen much of Bristol.
Me and Elijah would really like to show you around but you don't have
a bike, so we're going to this place here,
where you can pick out a bike that suits you...
and then we're going to go on a bike tour.
-Are you excited to get a bike?
-Very, very excited.
Hey, guys. How can I help?
Ahmed's here and he needs a bike because he doesn't have one.
We give out bikes to people who need a bike,
so I've probably got the perfect bike for you out the back.
So, Ahmed, what do you think of this?
The idea here is that you work on it yourself, so you learn some skills.
-Is that cool with you?
Have you ever used a spanner before?
-No? It's going to be fine.
It's really easy stuff.
You have used tools before, haven't you?
All right? So we know your brakes are going to work.
Do you know how to put a chain on a bike? So around this wheel...
Yeah. Good work. So that chain now is linked.
'Elijah's fixing that puncture on his bike, too.'
My hands... Look, my hands are dirty and that is a sign of good work.
So this is your fast gear.
Feel the wind off that.
And now we test the brakes.
My bike is looking very, very, very nice.
'I didn't have a bike for a long, long time.'
Cool! Have a good day, boys.
-See you soon, yeah?
-I think, yeah, stage one,
getting the bike ready and getting all our bikes fixed up was good,
but I'm really excited to show Ahmed around.
'Before today, Ahmed spent most of his time inside,
'so we're going to show him everything.'
Look at the boat.
Imagine living on a boat like this.
Follow me, yeah?
This boat is awesome.
-There's like a look-out as well.
-Oh, it's a birthday.
-ELIJAH AND AHMED:
-# Happy birthday to you. #
That's the SS Great Britain over there.
The boat looks like the...Titanic.
The Titanic, yeah. It kinda does, actually.
Oh, look. The river is very, very nice.
Yeah, it is nice. There's the houses.
There's the colourful ones.
The iconic Bristol houses.
Yeah, they're so cool.
I like this house.
This area is very, very nice.
'We've been riding for hours but we've saved the best for last.'
-It's very nice.
It's very, very amazing and nice.
This is the first time I've seen the bridge and it's amazing.
'I think Ahmed's had a brilliant day.'
Wow! Just... How far we've come.
'I'm very, very happy because I've seen more of Bristol and I feel'
very exciting because I'm starting
a new school and I will improve my English.
'It feels great getting involved, helping people settling in Bristol.
'I feel like the things I've done made a big difference.'
'This summer's made me realise that, you know,'
being a refugee and all that isn't as simple as just hopping on a plane
and coming over here,
cos what happens after that
is really crucial as well and even Adel,
who's been here a long time.
Syria will always feel like home.
One day I will be able to go back to Syria
because wars can't last forever.
Wars always end.
# Oh, I'm coming home. #
Imagine living in a war zone. You're forced to flee to a foreign country, where you know no one, leaving your family and friends behind. How do you make friends in a new school if can't speak their language? 12-year-old Adel knows exactly how this feels as he had to leave his home in Syria three years ago and move to the UK as a refugee. He's now happily settled here, but this summer he's on a mission with his best friend Elijah to help welcome some new refugees who are struggling to settle in his new home town of Bristol.