Refugee heaps praise on support received with driving theory test

A Palestinian refugee has praised the huge support she has received in studying for her driving theory test since moving to the UK.

Israa Alshaikhqasem, originally from Palestine, fled Iraq in March with her mother, father and uncle and now lives in Bedfordshire.

Currently studying in Bedford to improve her English, Israa has often found it difficult to get into town, having to rely on the city’s bus service to get around.

Having not driven before coming to the UK, Israa said learning the rules of the road has been a steep learning curve but that learning to drive will give her a new sense of independence.

“I moved here for a better life, a peaceful life and a fresh start – a new future for my family,” she said.

“Learning to drive will give me independence and will make life so much easier.

“The course is brilliant and my trainer Alessandra is lovely.”

Israa is now attending the high-level ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Driving Theory class delivered by the Kings Arms Project in Bedford with funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

She is supplementing her learning using the DVLA’s Safe Life for Driving app and the Driving Theory 4 in 1 app.

The ESOL driving course is one of many across the region, supported by the Strategic Migration Partnership in the east of England and its Wellbeing and Work for Refugee Integration (WW4RI) Project.

Israa has her driving theory test coming up in the near future and says she looks forward to getting on the road.

“I have been going out with my father as a passenger, learning all the road signs as we drive around town,” she said.

“They have helped me not just with my learning, but with booking tests and the admin side too.

“I can’t thank the team at the Kings Arms project more for their support and I can’t wait to take my test.”

Natasha Murphy, Refugee and Migrant Services Caseworker at the Kings Arms Project, said: “We are so proud of how well Israa is doing.

“She is a dedicated learner and has really put her heart into learning the rules of the road.

“We wish her all the very best in her upcoming exams.”

For more on the SMP’s ESOL driving theory courses, see