I was forced to flee Iran when I converted to Christianity. I could have been imprisoned or killed because of my beliefs. I didn’t want to leave Iran – I’d graduated and was just starting to build a career as a survey engineer but there was no alternative. My uncle paid some smugglers to help me escape Iran and get to Europe. That journey took five months. It was a very difficult time.
I remember walking for days. Other times, I travelled in the back of a lorry. I didn’t have any money or any belongings apart from the clothes on my back. I arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry. When the driver saw me, he was so angry. I felt scared. The police turned up and arrested me. I was sent to a detention centre. There were so many different nationalities. I didn’t know what would happen to me but I felt safe at last; people were kind and provided me with food and a bed.
Afterwards I was sent to a hotel in Glasgow to live with some other asylum seekers before being placed in Dagenham. Shortly afterwards the Home Office granted me leave to remain for five years. This led to me becoming homeless as I had to vacate the designated housing I’d been put up in. Fortunately I found a bed at a YMCA.
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