7. The real story:
‘There is a need for better quality education for immigrant families and people with permanent residence in Slovenia. At the same time, more support from the media would be used to facilitate integration” (Abas from Iran, 33 years old).
The BODE project (#BrezOvirDoEnakosti), which we are implementing together with Intercultural Dialogue, is committed to empowering people with a migrant background in the field of advocacy, as they often do not get the right opportunity to present their side of the story. This time, however, it is different – by sharing real stories, we are fighting against the prejudice that migrants are not educated or skilled enough to participate equally and qualitatively in the progress of Slovenian society.
This is Abbas’ story…
Abas (33 years old), who comes from Iran, has completed his education in electronic engineering. For a while, he ran a repair shop for all kinds of video and audio equipment and also worked as a traffic policeman. Four years ago, because of the situation in Iran, he had to leave his country, which he says is very beautiful, but where the people are extremely repressed. He fled to Serbia, where he worked for a while. Later, he bought a car and came to Slovenia with his puppy, Betamin, and after waiting for nine months he got permanent residence.
‘I am very interested in working in the automotive industry. I would also enjoy working as a technician on a large ship. Wherever I am, it is important to me that I can have my puppy Betamina by my side, who brings me joy,’ said Abbas, who is considered to be an extremely kind and compassionate person.
Abas said that he had identified some challenges in Slovenia that he thought should be addressed and, above all, discussed more: ‘It would be necessary to provide better quality education for immigrant families and people who have permanent residence in Slovenia and wish to stay here in the long term. The current integration system needs to be overhauled in terms of education.” He feels that it would be useful for immigrants with permanent residence to have more support in terms of administrative requirements from public offices.”It would be good to have a professional accompanying person with refugee status for at least the first year. Especially in meeting the formal requirements, especially when visiting the offices where the forms are filled in. This would improve the speed and quality of all the procedures for integration, finding a job, and so on.’
Abas thinks that immigrants could get more support in overcoming prejudices, especially because of the difficulties they have in finding a place to live: ‘ Maybe it is really common for Slovenians to look for Slovenian lodgers because they use the same language, but it would be really good to do something in this area. This culture can often be the result of prejudice and hate speech. You will not believe it, but today people ask me if I am here delivering drones to the Russian army just because I come from Iran. There is simply a wrong generalization and misunderstanding of the background and history of people who come from the Middle East. At the same time, we could use more support from the media to counter prejudice and facilitate integration.’
Let’s fight stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice. It is important to stand together for social justice, equal treatment, and opportunities for all members of our society. Let’s be tolerant, friendly, and open to new faces, new acquaintances, and opportunities for people to surprise us positively as great employees, talented individuals, or just loyal friends. Although different, we are all equal.
For more on the stories and the project, see :
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 “𝑩𝑶𝑫𝑬/𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒛 𝑶𝒗𝒊𝒓 𝑫𝒐 𝑬𝒏𝒂𝒌𝒐𝒔𝒕𝒊” 𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝑪𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒛𝒆𝒏𝒔 𝑭𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝑺𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒂 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐 – 𝒕𝒐 𝑵𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐.