Guest story: Shapour
“[the volunteers] were like brothers and sisters.”
Shapour has seen his friends and his brother go to prison for their faith. In his home country of Iran his house was raided by the police and religious material was seized. This persecution led him to make the tough decision to leave Iran to try and find freedom.
Getting out of that final lorry, he remembers not having a clue where he was. He found some people and used the only English word he knew to get help: “Police!” The police did help and soon he found himself placed into a hostel in Birmingham for two months and then into temporary accommodation provided by the Home Office while he awaited a decision on his asylum case.
From homelessness to GrowTH
Wonderfully in 2016 his asylum application was successful! However, that also meant that he had to leave his temporary accommodation. Remembering what it was like to be homeless, Shapour shares how it was “not a good time for me, very hard… sleeping every day on buses.” At this time he often prayed “why, God?” Through meeting someone at Barking College he was advised to go to the homeless charity Crisis Skylight, who then referred him to the night shelter.Once in the shelter his Advocate Worker was able to support him in finding more permanent accommodation. Shapour spoke of his deep appreciation for all those who volunteered in the night shelter. He was not only given food, shelter and some clothes, but the volunteers, he said, “were like brothers and sisters.”
Future looks bright
Shapour is now living in a hostel and studying English at college. He has recently obtained his first English qualification and has started applying for a driving licence. In the UK he can now worship freely and is so grateful! In August 2017 he has also been successful in securing family reunion visas for his wife and children to join him from Iran. GrowTH was able to help him access help from the Red Cross in booking flights for them to come and join him! In Shapour’s words: “This is my hope now