Young Roots works in London, and in partnership with community-based organisations in Lebanon and Nepal, to provide support and activities for young refugees and asylum seekers.
Our vision is of a world in which all young refugees and migrants can realise their rights and fulfil their potential.
Our mission is to improve the wellbeing and life chances of young refugees and asylum seekers.
Our ambition is to be respected and known for our innovative and participatory approach to young refugees’ and migrants’ self-advocacy and learning.
I am 18 years old and I am from Iran. I started rapping seven years ago and after a few years, I started to become known in my country and I was singing in an underground music studio.
My music was about problems in my country. In Iran, you can sing, but you are not allowed to say anything against the government.
I was making an album in my friend’s music studio and the police came and raided the studio and took my friend away. I still do not know what happened to my friend. They also took all the music recorded in the studio including my album. After that a letter came to my house telling me to come to court in three days. I was scared because you can be put in prison for five years for singing about politics or you can even be killed.
My mother sent me to stay with a friend for a few days and then sent another man to take me out of the country.
I travelled for one month and then I arrived in the UK. At first I didn’t know where I was, but someone found me and took me to the police and then I was brought to social services. I applied for asylum and I now have refugee status here.
I have been the UK for nearly two years and people in this country have really helped me with my music. My social worker sent me to a music project as soon as I arrived so I have continued making music here. My music has changed since I came here – it’s now about problems in different countries and not just Iran.
I’ve been coming to Young Roots activities since I arrived here. I have been on trips and on a residential holiday for three days, where I enjoyed swimming and having fun with my friends.
For Refugee Week 2014, Young Roots worked with Counterpoint Arts to give me the opportunity to perform at the Celebrating Sanctuary festival with the rapper, Afrikan Boy. I was also interviewed by journalists from the BBC and London Live television to tell people about my experiences of coming to the UK and also to share my music.