Mohammed came to YMCA Derbyshire seeking asylum when he was 17 years old. During the short time he has been with us, he has progressed through our Foyer and now lives in a shared house in the community. Mohammed is currently studying English at college.

“I arrived in the UK when I was 17. When I first came here, I thought everything would be bad but I found nice people and the team at the YMCA have been amazing. They told me everything would be alright so I listened to them and took their advice. I will never forget what these people did for me – they have pushed and encouraged me, told me not to give up.”

Mohammed’s confidence has grown so much that he now goes for walks at Elvaston Castle to feed the ducks or rides his bike around the city. He has also made lots of friends.

“I cook with my housemates and we share and eat together. This house has shown me how happy I can be – these people are like my family. If you get good friends it will be good for your future and for your family. The friends I have made here are Sudanese, English, Arabic and Kurdish.”

When he arrived at YMCA Derbyshire, Mohammed didn’t know any English. Now, he has a certificate from college for 100% attendance and punctuality as well as Entry Level English & Maths.

“My advice to others is to be strong. Time doesn’t stop, you have to spend it on good things and follow your dreams. You never know if you will be alive tomorrow or not. Don’t say I will try tomorrow – do it today. In the future I want to be a pilot – it will be hard but if I don’t try I won’t know.”