Case Study

Zain: ‘I now have the confidence to speak about my experiences’

Posted by Gary Pluck on November 8, 2023


After experiencing a ten-year wait for a decision while in the asylum system, Zain Hafeez was keen to become a spokesperson for the Say No to Clause 9 campaign in the Nationality and Borders Bill. Under this section of the bill a person’s citizenship can be taken away without them receiving notification. 

Zain was originally introduced to IMIX Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, where he was working in their Complex Needs Team, and at the Red Cross. He was already quite active on social media with a good following and agreed to share the Clause 9 campaign on his channels. When IMIX heard his back story he seemed perfect to write an opinion piece on his struggle to access higher education.

Our West Midlands Regional Comms Coordinator initially met with him to talk through the piece, then worked with him to write and edit a couple of drafts before submitting to the Metro, who published the op-ed a month or so later. The Coordinator had follow up meetings with him to see how we could further support him in his role at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre. 

This process added to Zain’s confidence in writing opinion pieces and getting his story told. He also went on to write a blog for the IMIX website and an Instagram post for World Mental Health day on his own struggles with depression when he was in the asylum system and restricted from studying at University. He wrote articulately and passionately about how he was able to overcome these issues and move forwards through reflecting on his own thoughts and feelings, and studying philosophy.

Zain is now one of the IMIX trustees, continues to campaign and is working as a Community Organiser and funder.

In his blog on the IMIX website for World Mental Health Day, he wrote: ‘Eventually, I regained my motivation to study and successfully applied for a Sanctuary Scholarship, receiving a first-class honours degree in philosophy and global studies. 

As someone with first-hand experience of the setbacks and detrimental impact of the brutal immigration process, I consciously decided to campaign on these critical issues, which are neglected and misrepresented in the mainstream media, resulting in the stigmatisation of migrants and a hostile attitude towards these vulnerable individuals.’