Scotland surprises me all the time: with its wild weather and kind people; its political change, culture and diversity. I would say my home is here, with my friends and family, with my work and activism.Pinar Aksu
How did you end up in Scotland?
I have been in Scotland since I was a child. My parents moved here seeking asylum. From a very young age I had no idea what that meant until one day my family was detained. After support and campaigning from my teachers and the community, we received our indefinite leave to remain.
Since then I have been campaigning to raise awareness about the immigration system, especially on detention and the impact of the system. I have been involved with various campaigning groups in Scotland and internationally. I am one of the Youth Amassadors for International Detention Coalition’s Global Campaign to End Child Detention. I have been raising awareness about the issue across various platforms, including: the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Migration; international conference on child detention held by the Council of Europe; ‘Leaders’ Summit on Refugees – An expert Level Meeting on Improving Refugees’ Access to Education’; and provided evidence for the Global Compact on Migration.
How do you find life here?
Scotland surprises me all the time: with its wild weather and kind people; its political change, culture and diversity. I would say my home is here, with my friends and family, with my work and activism.
There is always space though, for raising awareness, art, change and community spirit. I would say working with Maryhill Integration Network in Glasgow – coordinating projects for welcoming asylum seekers and refugees in the community –has allowed me to meet many people from across the world. Using Theatre of the Oppressed methods with Active Inquiry and World Spirit Theatre allowed me to expand my creativity and activism to create social change and raise awareness of migration and problems people face in the system.
For me, it is important to welcome people, from different walks of life, to see one another as a human without any labels given by society of the system and to build an equal and just society for all.