Zardasht's Story

money in hands  c. Jenny Wicks
Set at around £5 per day, asylum support is too low for asylum seekers to meet their basic living needs.

Zardasht, 37, is Kurdish and has been in Scotland for four years. He lived for two of those years without any support, and fears being made destitute again in the near future.

“Sometimes I don’t feel human, because I cannot do anything. And it’s not just me who’s like this – there are thousands of people who are in this situation. That’s really hard.

I have just £35 per week. How can I eat? I don’t like frozen food, but if I buy meat? That’s almost half my weekly money. It’s very difficult to live this way.

I want to help more, do interpreting, volunteer, to do something with my time. But bus passes are £16.50 per week. If I buy that, how can I eat? I walked 3/4 miles to get here today, I can’t do that everyday. If I paid for the bus pass I would have just £18.50 left, for food, to stay clean - for a week, it’s just not enough. It’s impossible.

It’s very hard to live here, to keep going, when I don’t have family. I’m not here to complain, but I just want to explain life here. Everything is good, but it’s very difficult. You want to do something and can’t do anything. This is why people get angry and can’t sleep. I couldn’t get to sleep until 4.30 in the morning last night. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I think too much and can’t sleep.

Everywhere here, people know me. I don’t stay home, nobody’s going to come and knock on my door and help me - I have to fend for myself.”