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For over three years now the Positive People project has sought to help a broad range of people across Devon and Somerset to gain new skills and confidence. A range of partners have been working together to support people of working age, from all backgrounds and abilities, to gain employment and training opportunities. Cosmic’s role has been to focus on the Digital skills element: providing training in the use of hardware and software, building trust and confidence in technology. Without the skills and access to technology, vulnerable and isolated individuals can struggle to reach essential public services and may struggle to find employment. 

In 2019, our team in Devon met a young couple in need of help: Khaled and Dalal; refugees from Syria, relocated in Exeter. They were forced to flee their country when war threatened their lives and destroyed everything around them. In Syria, Khaled was studying History at university. One of his goals in the UK was to re-enrol in university, and Positive People were contacted to provide help along the way.

The couple met with the project team and planned how they would improve their English language and computer skills. They both received training from Cosmic’s Digital Trainers to build their confidence in using technology. This enabled them to develop important life skills such as creating a CV on Microsoft Word, writing and sending emails, searching for work online, applying for jobs and connecting digitally with others. 

With our help, Khaled could begin looking at his dream of going back to university and building a career. In addition, Khaled and Dalal have made the most of 
their new-found love of Facebook, using it to connect them with others in the local community. Khaled has dedicated a huge amount of time to helping other people around him.

 In June 2019 Positive People joined Khaled and Dalal at the International Celebration – an event they had initiated and organised within the local community. The event saw over 200 people join together to celebrate diversity in Devon. Khaled explained, “When I came to this country the people of Exeter welcomed me. I want to bring peace to the community and I want to say thank you. Next year will be even bigger!”.

Besides organising this incredible event, Khaled is also involved in an extensive amount of volunteer work. Through this, he has embedded himself in the local culture to improve his language, building relationships in 
the community. 

Khaled and Dalal have also published a book, along with a collection of other refugees. The book, ‘Human Crossings: 9 stories about refugees’ shares their amazing story in depth and gives a real account of their lives in Syria, and the search for refuge. We’re proud to be 
part of that journey. Be sure to look out for the book in 
the shops.