Bute’s young Syrian rewarded for integration efforts

Malek Helmi with Rotary Club of Rothesay president Billy Shields.
Malek Helmi with Rotary Club of Rothesay president Billy Shields.

One of Bute’s young Syrian refugees has been recognised by the Rotary Club of Rothesay for his positive contributions to island life.

Malek Helmi, 18 is one of the refugees who has rehomed on the island in early 2016, and when he first came to the UK his English was very basic.

With the help of tutors he now speaks the language well, with a discernible Scottish accent.

Last year at Rothesay Academy Malek was also elected a house captain, and he hopes one day to study science at university.

Rothesay Joint Campus principal Barry Wilson said: “Malek has shown a big interest in continuing his studies and gaining some additional qualifications, and we fully support him in that endeavour.”

Dan Edgar of the Rotary Club of Rothesay told the Buteman: “Malek is now a very important link between the two quite disparate cultures, and is encouraging and assisting the other Syrians to communicate in English - or should that be Scottish?.

“On a recent Royal visit to Rothesay he acted as interpreter for the Duke of Rothesay when amongst others he met a delegation from the Syrian people.

“His election as house captain at the academy is another step on the continuing and positive journey of integration between the communities.”

Malek was invited to last week’s meeting of the Rotary club, and was presented with the Rotary Club of Rothesay Young Citizen of the Year award.

Rotary club president Billy Shields made the presentation.

He said: “Malek is a charming and intelligent young man, who has made a hugely positive contribution to our community and it is indeed a privilege to recognise this and present him with this award.”