8 December 2023

Zanko arrived in the UK after fleeing from Iran in 2021 at the age of 16. Due to his age he was picked up by Children’s Services and placed with a foster family where he thrived and became part of the family, speaking very little English, Zanko was enrolled on an ESOL course.

When Zanko was nearly 18, he came to live at the YMCA and initially required translators in order for us to be able to assess whether we would be able to support him. However, Zanko picked up English exceptionally quickly and we only required a translator when we completed his first outcomes star. Now, Zanko often supports his friends to appointments and acts as translator for them.

Zanko has embraced English culture and loves living here. So much so, that when he recently had an important appointment on the same day as a planned college trip to the British Museum, he attended his appointment and then caught the train to London by himself so that he could catch up with his college class to visit the museum.

While living at the YMCA, Zanko has learned a lot of independent living skills. He loves living at the YMCA and is excited about the possibility of having his own flat in the future. He is such a joy to have around the project. Despite the difficulties he’s faced, he always has a smile on his face and cares about all of the Staff asking us every day if we are ok. He has come such a long way and we are really proud of him.