ONE of Renfrewshire's Syrian refugees has thanked locals for welcoming them to their new life in Scotland.
The thanks come after it was revealed that Renfewshire welcomed 81 refugees from Syria under the Government's vulnerable persons resettlement scheme - the highest of any area in Scotland and third-highest in the UK.
Mohamad Andoura arrived in Paisley last November along with his wife and four children – and says his family love their new home, even though they had to get used to the Scottish weather.
Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "When I was back in Syria I always wanted to travel to the UK and now it is my home. Scotland is a great country and the people are amazing.
"I want to thank the people for receiving us – it was a great way we were received. I want to thank Renfrewshire Council – thanks to them my kids are going to school and studying.
"The main difference here is the weather. But I like Scottish people – they are always smiling and we have not experienced any racism."
He added: "We feel at home here but we miss our family back home in Syria. They are not secure there – but there is nothing we can do for them.
"There is just one thing we are missing – I am looking for work and hope to find a job. In Syria I was an accountant and had experience of running a coffee shop. Having a job is very important to Middle Eastern men."
Mohamad's son, 17 year old Ebrahim, is one of five refugee teenagers who received a Saltire Award this week for their help with the Environmental Training Team in the area.
Ebrahim said: "Paisley is a nice area. The people in Scotland are very nice and they smile all the time.
"To be working as a volunteer is very good for me and has given me confidence.
"There were different things we did here and I learned new things, such as how to mow the lawn."
He added: "I am learning English although in school I do not understand everything. But my teachers in school are trying to come up with different ways to teach us and they do their best.
"My favourite subjects are maths and woodwork. When I leave school I want to go to university to study mechanical engineering."