Fifteen-year-old Ali came to Slovenia with his father three years ago as a political refugee. His mother and little sister stayed in Iran.

“Dad decided for us to go, because the situation in Iran is very bad right now. People are angry because the republic is no longer okay, they are angry at the politics, the president and the prime minister.”

Because they left home in haste, they came to Slovenia with little luggage and no family photos. The trip cost them 15 thousand euros.

They spent the first two months in an asylum centre, and then their application for international protection was approved. Now they can also travel to other countries of the European Union.

They had to flee because his father opposed government policy. Ali keeps in touch with his mother and little sister on social networks, and occasionally they meet in Turkey.
He misses his friends with whom he liked to play football on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

His dad continues to make his favourite Iranian dishes here in Slovenia. He particularly likes fesenjan, a delicious chicken and pomegranate stew served with rice.

He does not know what he would do when he grew up if he had stayed in Iran. But he knows what he wants to be now that he came to Slovenia. He wants to be a football coach. He is in ninth grade at Livada Primary School in Ljubljana and plays for Črnuče Footbal Club.

“I’m not sorry I left Iran. I’m actually very happy to be here, and I feel good. I have never imagined I could learn Slovenian so well. At the beginning when I did not speak the language, my classmates looked at me a bit funny. But after a couple of months, I could to speak to them normally, and now I have many friends.”

But even today he wishes to go to the stadium in his home town one day and watch his home team play.


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