Amir arrived in the UK on 24 November 2018 having fled persecution in Iran and then moved to Newcastle in December 2018 where he is currently awaiting news of a date for his asylum claim interview. I met Amir recently while he was helping to assemble a pool table for our new interAction Drop-in at the West End Library and I asked him how he became involved with volunteering at Action Foundation. He told me that on arrival in Newcastle he joined the City Church community and through them learned about the work of Action Language and then enquired about becoming a volunteer teaching assistant.
“I have helped many of my friends who have struggled with all sorts of everyday things, through their lack of understanding of the English language. One friend did not understand the signs on the Metro and ended up at Newcastle Airport but wanted to be in Byker! It cost him over £5 which is a lot of money for an asylum seeker. I know that I can help others and I have a lot of time on my hands too!” Amir explained.
Amir was interviewed by Ruth, our Action Language Volunteer Coordinator and Teacher, and joined the team in May as a teaching assistant and is already really enjoying helping in the classes.
Back in Iran, he studied Mechanical Engineering for two years, then switched to Electrical Engineering before starting his studies in Interior Design. Unfortunately, he was not able to complete that course as events forced him to leave. Using his creative and artistic skills he embarked upon tattoo designing with an already good understanding of the technical knowledge required when applying a tattoo.
“Two of my Uncles are very creative and talented, one is a highly skilled carpenter designated in the top 5 in my country and my other uncle is a painter.”
Looking ahead to the future, Amir hopes that to have the opportunity to qualify as a tattoo artist whilst continuing to volunteer with Action Foundation in both the classroom and at the Drop-ins.
“Whilst I feel that my status in the UK is in limbo, my life is continuing to move ahead with new opportunities, friendships and hope. I suffered from depression when I first arrived in the UK but once I was in Newcastle and through the support of City Church and new friends, I feel this black cloud has been lifted. I still have to manage my IBS condition, which means no fast food, but I take each day as it comes.” Amir said.
Amir is truly inspirational and we wish him every success in his asylum claim and in the meantime we are enjoying having him as part of our Action Volunteering team.