Anwar

Anwar who lives in Tower Hamlets shares his experience of London life including his job on a zero-hour contract, the importance of education, and changes we can make to benefit the next generation.

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Hello, everybody, hi. Thank you for having me. My name is Anwar and I live in Tower Hamlets, me and my wife, and we have two children. My daughter is eight, and my son is five years old.

I'm a Safety Ambassador. It's basically for Public Health England. We're part of Tower Hamlets, where we are on the road, or in vaccination centres, giving out to people information about COVID, all the vaccine clinics, where to go, where to get the jabs, how to keep safe. Basically, we're in the road, or we're on the bus sometimes, whatever comes up. Although it's a temporary job, but let's see what happens, how long we're there for.

At the moment, although my work is good, it's a zero-hour contract, so at any time, it just-- in weeks it can go up and down, and it's up to December-- The contract finishes up to December, we don't know what's going to happen after December. They might extend it, they might not extend it, so again, looking for a job, finding somewhere permanent.

Anwar 2
Anwar playing with his children at their home in Tower Hamlets.

Once I lost my other job I managed, actually, to find a job in the supermarket. Again, that was temporary. Their staff then started coming in, then obviously, I didn't get enough hours and stuff, so I had to leave that job. It's insecurity as well in job-- I think people like us, we're just here one day, there one day [chuckles].

Education because I didn't get the chance to study in this country much, so that obviously had an effect on my education. I didn't even realize that until when I started doing my adult education actually. That was during the pandemic time.

Just before the pandemic, I was doing two days course just to get my English and Maths so I can go into another course which I always wanted to do, nursing. I can't do that without my course. I didn't even realise it till I started my course that I was dyslexic, so that was a big, big barrier for me. Then I realised that why I wasn't- It took me time basically, with everything, although my tutors were so supportive and everything of me.

I totally understand, we are lucky in this country. We got some safety nets in lots of ways, but we can do better.

We fall behind because of a lot of things-- Other things as well, and that's why it's taking me time. Although I managed to do my English after quite a long period of time, I'm still struggling with my Maths at the moment, but hopefully, let's see-- I can get that done. Dyslexia does affect people quite a lot, especially when it comes to study and stuff.

Nowadays, qualification is important. Without qualifications, you can't go anywhere, you can't get any good jobs. This is something I've always wanted to do, because I worked in a hospital, and I wanted to become a nurse, work as a nurse, but because of my qualifications, I couldn't go into it.

There's so many things that can be changed. We live in a world where-- We say we are one of the richest countries in the world, I don't think we should be falling in-- We shouldn't be going through this. Of course, people are living worse than us in other countries. I totally understand, we are lucky in this country. We got some safety nets in lots of ways, but we can do better. Our government can do better, and there's so many things they can look into to make people's lives better. Our lives becoming better is-- The next generation, that's what they're going to benefit out of it. Rather than just thinking, "Oh, they're already getting enough," or whatever they thinking, we got enough, I think just thinking how the whole system can change, and life would improve, definitely, in a lot of ways.

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