About Refugees, By Refugees
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“My dream was to achieve freedom,” says Sheri (pseud, 28). “To have my rights in this life, something that women do not have in Iran.” She felt good when leaving her country: “Except for being away from my family, I thought I’d have to leave to make my dream come true.” The journey that took her through Turkey to Greece and finally to the UK was very difficult. “On the way […] I kept feeling hopeless, like, is this dream that you have worth these moments? Is it worth your family’s concern?” she remembers. But she convinced herself to be strong and pursue her dream: “All those scenes, just like a movie, always appear in front of my eyes, but by imagining the bright future, I try to forget them.” Now in England, despite the distress of being alone in a foreign country, Sheri feels free. “Now, my dream is to progress in professional or educational (if I can study) fields as much as I can. And to be happy and feel relieved along with my family.”
Hello. Thank you so much for your time. I’m Nina Sedaghati, and I’m doing this interview as a contribution to the project of 1,000 dreams of 1,000 refugees by recording . If you don’t like either to be photographed or your identity to be revealed, I can take care of that for you, and use an alias instead. Just tell me skip to the next question if you don’t want to answer that. In fact, we have a form you have to sign to prove that you agree with this interview done by us. Do you agree to start?
What house do you live in now?
I live in a shared house right now.
Oh, that means the Council has given you home?
Yeah, a company affiliated with the Council has given me a room.
How many people do you live with?
Four, four people.
Are they your acquaintances or friends, or totally four strangers?
No, all of them are of a different nationality.
How do you spend your time?
I Usually watch movies, or youtube videos related to English learning.
What do you do as your ***?
I often walk. I don’t have much fun.
Since you got to Europe, what do you think was good and what was bad?
Freedom seems good to me, but being alone and not having your family around you and always thinking about them is the bad part. Also being a stranger in a foreign country is bad.
Can you explain to us what living here has made you feel?
It feels free.
Have you ever thought about being here, having an interview with us? How do you handle and get used to your life and stories as a refugee? Do you think there is a difference between what you have thought of being a refugee and what it really is now?
I didn’t have any sense of being an asylum, but now I think I have been able to get used to it and understand it, but I did not know how it could be to be a refugee beforehand. It was very very difficult for me early on. I feel more comfortable now.
What was precisely difficult for you to handle at first? Was it having to confront hostile people?
Firstly, when you come to a foreign country, it’s difficult to be exposed to a new language other than your native one. The milieu you’ve been growing up in since childhood, suppose you’ve been moved to another country, it’s strange. Not only you can’t talk to anyone, or they do not communicate in your language, but also, they can’t understand what you’re talking about.
Do you think that this path that you’ve come so far to be a refugee has helped you grow?
I’ve only emigrated for a year, but I think in the future, yes, maybe in a year.
I mean the path you took to come to Europe. Like, how long were you on your way to get there?
In these two months, for example, the hardships you’d been through, the fear you’d had or not, how did you get out of Iran, what challenges had you faced in your opinion, and did you overcome them?
The difficulty of the path I’ve taken, given the goals I’ve had, I was trying to convince myself I have to take this path, you have to be strong.
How has Covid affected your situation as a refugee?
Because right after my case had been approved, the pandemic and the closure of everywhere started. Therefore, it affected my going to college and English classes. And I fell behind on my work.
Well, let’s go back in time. Why did you leave your country?
To achieve the freedom that I think for women in my country was very very limited.
How did you feel?
I felt good. I felt good when I was leaving my country. Except for being away from my family, I have thought I’d have to leave to make my dream come true.
How did you get to Europe?
I went to Greece from Turkey, which I would say I had no idea about. It was a very difficult condition for me as well as many different nationalities to make our way through the jungle to Greece. I flew from Greece to another country, and then, came to England.
How did you feel along the way?
On the way, I think whenever I was stuck, for example, the first time where the police arrested me in the Greek jungle, I kept feeling hopeless, like what you’re doing here, like, this dream that you have is worth these moments? is it worth your family’s concern that they don’t know about you right now. That’s how it passed.
Those moments of fear and anxiety that you had been through, did they have a negative impact on you today, or did you solve it and forget about it?
To be honest, I haven’t forgotten it, because all those scenes, just like a movie, always appear in front of my eyes, but by imagining the bright future, I try to forget them, but I haven’t forgotten them yet.
When you were home, when you were in Iran, what were your dreams?
My dream was to achieve freedom. To have my rights in this life, something that women do not have in Iran.
What dream do you have for the future?
Now, my dream is to progress in professional or educational (If I can study) fields as much as I can. And to be happy and feel relieved along with my family.
Thank you so much for letting us interview you and if you have any questions ask me.
No, thank you.
Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.