A refugee who was taken to a Kent asylum seeker centre after arriving within the UK alone is about to open a restaurant in London.
Sohail Ahmad was simply 12 when he arrived in Ashford on a lorry which had travelled from Afghanistan.
He was taken by county council social companies groups to the Swattenden Centre in Cranbrook, a venue used to home younger asylum seekers up till 2012.
Now aged 32, he is ready open an egg-based restaurant – (*12*) – in central London this summer season.
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He advised KentStay: “Kent was my first residence after I got here to the UK, step one I took on UK soil was in Ashford.
“Kent social companies performed an unbelievable half in my life by way of settling me into the nation and integrating me into the system.”
Sohail described his time on the Swattenden Centre as a essential interval in his life.
He added: “They had unbelievable programmes and routines for youths like books and libraries, and individuals who got here to educate the youngsters, educating them English, and integrating them into society.”
He appears again fondly on his recollections of his time in Cranbrook, significantly the day journeys to Brighton, Gillingham and Maidstone, the place he was given swimming classes.
Sohail speaks extremely of his social employee Gill Martin and the resident translator who the younger boys referred to as Uncle Harshim.
In 2008, after leaving the Swattenden Centre and shifting to London, Sohail started his profession as an novice boxer.
It began as a method of defending himself when he was bullied in school however in 2015 he turned skilled, dominating the ring and profitable all of his fights bar one to this point.
But his newest enterprise is a pet-friendly, Halal restaurant in Fitzrovia.
His love of meals arose while he was cleansing dishes in eating places to earn some cash shortly after he arrived within the UK, and the egg-based idea comes from his frustration at by no means having the ability to order eggs the way in which he likes them.
(*12*) will serve a number of egg-based dishes from egg sandwiches by means of to vegan choices and spicy alternate options, at a cheap value.
Sohail mentioned: “Coming from an under-privileged background you don’t have the cash to be in a high-end restaurant.
“I wished to make one thing tasty and stylish, however good worth for cash.
“Money is a large think about every little thing.”
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He hopes success of the Fitzrovia department will convey him worldwide success sooner or later.
Alongside boxing and opening eating places Sohail helps the homeless, visiting prepare stations close to his residence in West London to present them with meals.
He has additionally began a basis in Afghanistan offering households in want with meals rations and different requirements.
He mentioned: “If anybody is studying this with the identical background I’ve, I might love to come and share my story with them and encourage them, inspire them, or give them hope that for those who work laborious and keep disciplined you possibly can obtain something.”