Ebrahim Akbari arrived in England from Iran two years ago. He had completed two years of a degree in architecture but, constrained by tight finances and the strict focus on religion in his homeland, Akbari decided to seek a new life overseas.
He spent three months living in the notorious refugee camp in Calais known as “The Jungle” before making his escape, eventually reaching the UK after hiding for six hours in the back of a refrigerated lorry. Though he was smuggled illegally, he was granted refugee status and given a work permit until 2020. At this point, Akbari could apply for British citizenship.
“The lovely people in England are so kind and I was given a very warm welcome,” he says.
“I was given residence and allowed to work.”
Alongside his Esol programme at The Sheffield College, Akbari holds several part-time jobs.
“My dream is to go back to university,” he says, “but it is difficult because I have to work to pay rent – I don’t have any support, but I will continue. It could happen.”