2021 Winner

Hassan Alkhawam

Refugee who fled war-torn Syria uses his experiences to help others arriving in Britain from trouble spots around the world.

Hassan was a student when his family was forced to flee their home in Syria, leaving everything they owned behind. Initially settling in Jordan, Hassan had to give up his studies to find work and support his family after his father fell ill and was no longer able to work.

They were granted refugee status, and came to Northern Ireland in 2017, where Hassan was determined to embrace opportunities and resume his studies. However he did not have the money for the English language course he needed to be accepted at university.

A friend told him about The Prince’s Trust and Hassan got in touch to see if they could help.
“I knew that taking the English language course was the first step to being able to apply for a job and university, but with no income I didn’t have a way to pay for it. The Prince’s Trust provided me with a Development Award that covered the fees, I was so grateful for their help. As well as providing the money, the support and encouragement from the staff was amazing.”

Hassan also took part in The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail programme, a training and mentoring scheme that gives young people the skills, experience, and confidence they need to find a job. He started work in Tesco, where he was a key worker through the pandemic.

After passing his English language course, he was accepted at Queen’s University, where he is studying Software Engineering.

Away from his studies, Hassan is determined to help others arriving in Northern Ireland, most recently from Afghanistan. He is a voluntary Director of a local charity, NI Hyatt, that supports vulnerable members of the refugee and migrant communities, and has recently completed courses in advocacy and interpreting so that he can help this community settle into life in Northern Ireland.

Hassan, 23, says: “ I’m grateful to The Prince’s Trust for all their support in helping me achieve a better life, not just for me, but for my family.”