Iman joined YMCA Norfolk in 2020, looking for a fresh start among the Covid-19 pandemic. Since his time living with us and engaging in positive activities, he has not only built a new life for himself here in Norwich but is also one step closer to pursuing his dreams.
Read his story below:
Iman was born in Iraq and lived with his aunt and uncle, while his dad worked away in Sweden. Due to the ongoing war in Iraq, which was prevalent throughout his childhood, Iman’s dad decided to relocate him and his brother – which the start of their journey as refugees.
Initially migrating to Turkey, Iman then relocated to Sweden, before moving to England for a better education at the age of 12. Despite an initial culture shock, Iman quickly learned English and made friends at school, particularly through his love of football.
Unfortunately, as he got older, his relationship with his parents broke down, resulting in him having to leave the family home at his parent’s request. This resulted in Iman becoming homeless, sofa surfing with friends for a day or two a week, and on the streets for the other days.
Following stays at other housing units, Iman got into the wrong crowd and ended up being involved in drug-related issues, which led to him being assaulted one day at a hostel. This was when he decided to turn his life around.
Iman contacted the council for a fresh start and was referred to YMCA Norfolk’s housing team. Initially he moved into YMCA Central (John Drake’s House), and eventually transitioned to more independent living, being allocated a self-contained apartment at YMCA My Place (St Giles).
Iman commented, “YMCA Norfolk have accommodated me in a time in my life when things were not good, I have been able to have a fresh start and get my life back on track. I have had to put in the hard work, engage with staff and I am now on a path to getting my own accommodation.”
Since living at YMCA Norfolk, Iman has engaged in a range of activities and been supported by the team at YMCA Norwich Central and My Place. This has allowed him to develop friendships, grow in confidence, and, of course, support his passion for football.
“I went kayaking, did archery and took part in various other sports when at Central, which was amazing.
“Now, I thoroughly enjoy the football activity that I do every Monday with My Place, I really look forward to this, it has helped to strengthen my friendships and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise spoken to,” he added.
In the future, Iman hopes to go to university to study Business Management. His dream is to one day own his own clothing line selling streetwear for young people.
If you’re a young person seeking help, please get in touch with our housing team.
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