Living and working in Iran, I had everything I could wish for – a good job in banking, a house, a nice car, enough money and lots of friends. But I was also outspoken about human rights. This led to problems with the government, and I felt I was in danger of being arrested and punished.
That made life very difficult and my mental health really suffered. It got to the point where I couldn’t take it any more, so one day I decided to leave it all behind. That was a tough decision – to just walk away from everything I knew and start again from scratch somewhere new and unfamiliar.
You can’t take money out of the country, so I arrived in the UK with nothing. No family or friends. It took a while to get my visa and that whole time you can’t do anything. I had gone from having a decent position in society to barely surviving on benefits. When I finally got settled, I began to put my life back together, but finding a job wasn’t easy. For professional roles, my English wasn’t good enough. For non-skilled jobs, I was over-qualified. So, the first thing I did was go to college to improve my English.
I was thinking about starting my own business. I had an idea, but I didn’t know how to take even the first steps to make it happen. TERN and the Ice Academy are helping me understand how business works in the UK. It’s also giving me confidence to pursue my dream.
My idea is to provide refugees with services – like therapy, workshops and social events – to help meet their emotional and relationship needs. This is a huge problem for many people. But refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, understandably, tend to suffer more with these kinds of issues. I’m excited to get this up and running, so I can help people in a similar situation as myself. My goal is to study cognitive science and do something in that field. But that’s longer term. I need to get qualifications so I can apply to university.