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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 16:49 GMT
'New life' for Congolese family
Gloria, Luvunzo, Therese and Felicite Kimbayo with Home Office minister Joan Ryan
The Kimbayo family with Home Office minister Joan Ryan
A Congolese father has described his hopes of leading a new peaceful life in Scotland with his young family.

Luvunzo Kimbayo is one of thousands of refugees who have fled persecution in the Republic of Congo.

The former teacher, his wife Therese and daughters Gloria, 6 and Felicite, 3, are among the first Congolese refugees to be resettled in Scotland.

The family have been given a home in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, as part of a Home Office and United Nations project.

Speaking through an interpreter Luvunzo said his children were the "luckiest" to be given the chance of a new life.

"Our first impression of Scotland is that it is a place that will give us a better life," he said.

"Of course there are differences in culture, but the most wonderful thing is that we are here and that is worth the troubles, the hardship and the terror that we have gone through.

Motherwell really does have a heart of gold
Joan Ryan MP
Home Office

"Our eyes are full of light at our new surroundings and everywhere we go people have been welcoming and smiling."

The Kimbayo family, who have been given a number of gift packs from charities and the local church community, were welcomed at their new home by Home Office minister Joan Ryan.

Ms Ryan said: "North Lanarkshire is the first local authority in Scotland to resettle the Congo refugees from the project, and it says a lot about the people of Motherwell and of North Lanarkshire.

"Motherwell really does have a heart of gold.

"It is so wonderful to see the efforts that local people have gone to make people feel welcome and make them feel part of the community."

The couple's daughters are expected to attend the local primary and nursery schools in the town.

UN camp

A further 22 Congolese refugees are being resettled in Motherwell through the Gateway Protection Programme, which aims to settle 500 people in the UK every year.

Many of the refugees had been staying in the United Nations camp in Zambia for up to three years prior to being selected for the programme.

The Home Office covers the costs for accommodation, healthcare, education and social work.

Scotland's Communities Minister Rhona Brankin praised the programme.

She said: "The Scottish Executive welcomes the fact that North Lanarkshire is continuing Scotland's long tradition of offering sanctuary to individuals fleeing persecution by taking part in the Gateway Protection Programme."

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