Iynaz and Vivien

Image of Iynaz and Vivien sitting in a cafe. They are holding Iynaz's certificate of achievement between them.

Iynaz, a young woman from Iran, was referred to Hope for the Young, when she was 19 years old.

At that time, Iynaz wasn’t in education, but she dreamed of pursuing a career in music, to one day achieve her goal of owning a music production company. In her home country, women were discouraged from studying or even playing music. Nevertheless, Iynaz was determined to do so.

Iynaz was also feeling very alone and isolated when she was referred to Hope for the Young, unsure of how to navigate her new life in the UK.

Luckily, we had the perfect mentor to support her and help her achieve all her goals! We matched Iynaz with Vivien, a retired civil servant. Although this was her first mentoring relationship with Hope for the Young, Vivien had previous experience mentoring others and volunteering with people seeking asylum and was excited to use her skills and experience to support Iynaz.

Over 8 months, Vivien and Iynaz met each week at local cafes all over the city. On nice sunny days, they would take their mentoring sessions outside and walk around London. At first Iynaz felt shy and nervous at their meetings, but slowly she started getting more comfortable with Vivien and felt she could open up to her.

With Vivien I could speak to her about anything. Iynaz, Mentee

In the beginning, Iynaz and Vivien worked on applying for university to study music, which was Iynaz’s main goal from mentoring. Iynaz had no idea where to start with this, and initially felt quite overwhelmed at the daunting task.

I remember so many times I felt like giving up, if Vivien wasn't there, if I was alone, I might have given up at some point, because it was so hard, not understanding the process. Iynaz, Mentee

Vivien helped Iynaz to overcome these fears as they worked on researching universities, writing her personal statement and applying for university places. Soon, Iynaz started to receive university offers and began applying for scholarships and bursaries, including Hope for the Young’s own Grants and Advocacy Programme.

If I found an opportunity, she grabbed it with both hands. I really enjoyed seeing her blossom as she found she could get university offers and also got on with applying for scholarships. Vivien, Mentor
Image of Iynaz smiling widely. She is standing in front of a Hope for the Young banner.

With Vivien’s support, Iynaz received a place and a scholarship to study Music Production and is now enjoying her first year at university!

As well as studying music, Iynaz wanted some support to get involved with music activities and start doing more physical activity, to improve her wellbeing. Vivien therefore helped her to try out a yoga class and find some free piano classes.

Vivien also supported Iynaz to improve her English language skills, by helping her to access an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) preparation course and providing guidance with her classwork.

Vivien recalls that one of her favourite memories of mentoring happened when Iynaz’s English teacher gave her a list of colloquial expressions used in England and suggested she used them:

They were expressions I knew but they were really old fashioned - for instance ‘Bob’s your uncle’, ‘Pardon my French’. We laughed about them together and imagined her trying to use them in her exam. (She didn’t!) Vivien, Mentor

As well as providing practical support, Vivien acted as a listening ear for Iynaz, supporting her emotionally through the challenges she was facing, empathising with her, and cheering her up when she needed it.

Mentoring helped to have something to look forward to and focus on, in the most difficult time in my life. Iynaz, Mentee

For Vivien, this experience was also very rewarding, as she learned a lot from Iynaz. She enjoyed learning about Iranian culture, gaining a better understanding of the lived experiences of people seeking asylum in the UK, and developing her skills as a mentor.  In fact, Vivien enjoyed mentoring so much that she decided to mentor another young person with Hope for the Young once her relationship with Iynaz had come to an end!

I’d like to say thank you so much for the privilege of being your mentor, Iynaz. I was inspired by your determination, courage and hard work and it was a joy to see that rewarded by your university place and scholarship. Vivien, Mentor

Although their mentoring relationship has now come to an end, Iynaz and Vivien’s bond will last forever. Their story demonstrates how just 2-3 hours of mentoring each week can improve a young person’s confidence, self-esteem, and ability to achieve their dreams.

It had a huge impact in my future, sometimes it feels unreal, and I remember how different it could be if I didn't meet Vivien and Hope for the Young. Iynaz, Mentee

We are so proud of Iynaz for everything she has achieved with Vivien’s support. We can’t wait to see her flourish in her career as a music producer – keep your eyes out for her name on your playlists!

You can ensure that more young people like Iynaz have access to the mentoring support and education they need to thrive.

Click the buttons below to donate or become a mentor yourself!

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