Where are the cast of My (Refugee) Life now? - Breaking Barriers
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Where are the cast of My (Refugee) Life now?

We caught up with Bahaa, Bahadury, Gulsom, Joel and Zarith to see where life has taken them since filming wrapped up.

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Breaking Barriers

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The documentary My (Refugee) Life followed five incredible people as they navigated temporary accommodation, employment, love, family and education in the UK. We caught up with the cast to see where life has taken them since.

Bahaa

You might have noticed that Bahaa is an Arsenal fan… Arsenal noticed too, and they sent him his very own signed shirt, presented to him by fellow goonar, and friend, Anthony! We were delighted to be there when he received it, just after he’d seen himself on the big screen.

Bahaa also got a new job! In his words: “The day after I got a new laptop from Breaking Barriers, I had an interview with the biggest construction company in the UK, and the top 10 in the world, to work as a structural engineer in railways. My heart was beating rapidly when I picked up the call from the company. It was my best luck ever. I just got the job I love where I love!”

He has also passed his driving test with only three minor faults!

Bahadury

It is not easy to study for technical exams, let alone when you’re in a new country, in a language that isn’t your first. But Bahadury is doing just that. He is driving forward his dream to be the best human rights lawyer in his field and is studying hard for his SQE exams.

As if that wasn’t enough, he has also been advocating for refugees in the UK. Behind the scenes, he’s been working with local authorities to advise them on their Borough of Sanctuary strategies. And on stage he’s spoken at various events at law firms and banks about the resilience of refugees, and about his life in the UK.

He reports that his children are settling into life in the UK, enjoying school, and exploring all the local parks in London.

Gulsom

The documentary ends with Gulsom reflecting on her first day in a new job. Since then, Gulsom has been excelling in her new career as a paralegal at a leading law firm. She’s been enjoying her role, making progression in her career, and meeting and getting to know more people in the firm. She had an interview called “In Conversation” which was shared on the firm’s intranet site.

In Gulsom’s words: “When People read my story, I received a huge number of emails and texts from people within different department in the firm saying “your story is absolutely inspiring and thank you for sharing it.””

She has joined Bahadury on stage, where she spoke about the resilience of refugees in the UK, and how this is something that can be translated into the world of work. Gulsom also had a Therapy Works podcast interview with Julia Samuel which was described very unique.

Finally, Gulsom has become good friends with her tennis mates.

Joel

It will be no surprise that Joel is continuing to raise awareness about LGBT+ rights, and the lives of refugees in the UK. He was honoured as part of the 2023 Attitude Pride Awards, won the East London Global Engagement award at UEL, and won a Diana award.

Not only that, but Joel has been tirelessly speaking out in the media, including in the Guardian, Metro, Attitude, and Times Higher Education.
He completed his course at Oxford University and is now studying Global Development at the University of York.

Because life isn’t busy enough for Joel, he’s also attempting two world record attempts to raise money for causes close to his heart!

Zarith

Long-time campaigner, Zarith has continued working as a spokesperson and advisor for many charities and organisations about the rights of people from a refugee background in the UK.

He’s also been interviewed by the Soho London Independent Film Festival, where My (Refugee) Life will be screened, and has spoken on panel events at major businesses in the UK.

Zarith is also taking a politics course with City of Sanctuary, where he bumped into Bahadury who is taking the course too!

Sadly, Zarith and Alex are no longer together, but the quest to find his Mr Right continues!

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