After finishing her A-levels and beginning to prepare for Sciences Po in the fall, eighteen-year-old Beeta Davoudi attended an event for SolidariTEE where she met Fenix Executive Director Amanda Munoz de Toro. When Amanda discussed the dire need for Farsi/Dari translators in the field, Beeta knew just who to take along...
WHY DID YOU JOIN FENIX?
Beeta Davoudi: I am passionate about the protection of human rights and do not think it is enough to wish well for the refugees I see on the news; I also need to be with them and speak to them in real life if I actually want to learn about them and hopefully one day help refugees as a lawyer.
Shahla Kasaei: I am always keen to volunteer for charities which give ordinary people legal knowledge, so when my daughter told me about Fenix and explained that they give refugees advice and practice with the legal process for asylum, I knew that I had to get involved and help.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
BD: The empowering approach that Fenix has to helping refugees – which is by giving them knowledge of the asylum process and thus power over their own lives. I believe that knowledge is power and the work done by each person at Fenix reflects exactly this.
SK: Every client comes into the clinic with a clear sense of hope, eager to speak to a lawyer and learn some information. I love the resilience of the clients who regardless of so many problems are still able to seek advice and help from Fenix, and I love that Fenix is available to them as a source of knowledge and guidance.
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR MOST IMPACTING CASES?
BD: One day I asked this woman to sign the confidentiality form, and she told me she couldn’t because she didn’t know how to read or write. I started thinking, why should I know how to to do this and she cannot? Why should I be able to do things like look forward to uni and know how to write her name and she can’t? Nevermind that she had just told me a crazy story about her journey, but that simple thing was so shocking. And that happens more than you would think.
SK: One of the clients was discussing the problems he had faced in the camp and he said, “I don’t care about any of them…the most important thing is that they are going to separate my family. Two of my children are above 18 so they gave them different case numbers. All of the difficulties that I’ve had don’t compare to my children being separated. Until now, we were one family that could deal with these problems, but now that we are not I cannot bear it.”
WHAT'S A MOMENT THAT WILL STICK WITH YOU?
BD: I was translating for a client who was deeply upset by the news that their transfer was being postponed, only to then receive the news that the transfer can actually be made that same day. Seeing the client’s face light up from the good news made the work being done by Fenix feel extremely tangible. Being there made me realise how each person’s work goes to changing the lives of people for the better.
SK: I will never forget one of the clients who, after speaking to our protection team and receiving a very short piece of advice, could be visibly seen, from their face, to be completely relieved. The sudden shift from worry to relief in their face made me feel happy for the client who was finally able to find hope and a way of coping with their difficult situation.