Teenager now has time on her side after house move threat

TEENAGER Tashi Tahir and her mother faced being moved from their Glasgow home of 10 years.

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Tashi said the eviction delay was a "big deal" for her and her mother
Tashi said the eviction delay was a "big deal" for her and her mother

Asylum seekers Tashi, 17, and her mum Sharanee Bashir, 36, were ordered to pack up their belongings and leave their Knightswood flat with less than a week's notice. However, with Tashi just weeks away from sitting her final exams, the Evening Times stepped in - and last week Home Office contractor Serco stopped the move.

Reporter RACHEL LOXTON met with Tashi to discover how this has changed her life.

TASHI Tahir looks like any other pupil as she carries out a ­science experiment in a classroom tucked away in Glasgow school, St Thomas Aquinas.

But the 17-year-old is far more mature than most young people her age.

Tashi has been an asylum seeker living in Glasgow for 10 years.

The teenager and her mum Sharanee fled their home country of Pakistan a decade ago, believing their lives were in danger.

They have been living in Knightswood since then and Tashi calls it her home.

When housing provider ­Orchard and Shipman, which works on behalf of Serco, suddenly told the family to pack up their belongings and be ready to move last Thursday to an unknown location on the other side of Glasgow, Tashi panicked.

She is a carer for her mum who is suffering from mental health problems - and is about to sit two advanced highers, and two higher exams at school.

After the Evening Times highlighted Tashi's story, Serco decided to postpone the move until June, when the teen has completed her studies.

Tashi said it was "such a big deal" to the family.

She said: "It gives us so much more time to come to terms with moving and prepare if we have to move.

"It gives me time to get my subjects sorted and study because ­exams start on May 1.

"We talked to them (Orchard and Shipman) on Friday and they've said they'll give us at least 28 days notice and won't be five or six days like what happened.

"It will give us time, even, to hopefully stop it and we won't have to move at all."

Tashi is so desperate not to be taken away from the area because of the support in place for them.

"I've grown up here," she said. "This is my home."

"I've been here more than half of my life.

"It's a community. I go to school here, my friends are just two blocks away and my mum's support is all centred on this area.

"The charities only operate in the Knightswood area. If we had to go to the other side of the city, we wouldn't get the same amount of help.

"Even if we did go there it would take maybe four or five weeks to get some kind of services set up for my mum."

It has not been an easy life for both mum and daughter.

Tashi remembers rarely going to school when she first came to Glasgow and not having any friends.

She talks about the asylum seeker tag "hanging over" her.

Despite their setbacks Tashi and her mum have been in ­regular contact with the Home Office and are hopeful that they will be granted status.

And, although her early education was unsettled, school has turned out to be the most rewarding thing of all for Tashi.

She has eight credit level standard grades under her belt, five A-grade highers and is preparing for more.

Tashi has offers from a clutch of universities where she wants to study maths, including Glasgow, Strathclyde, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Heriot Watt.

The teenager dreams of working as a risk calculator, which involves university and another seven years training on the job.

It is no problem for the young woman, who likes studying and algebra.

Tashi's main motivation is to create a better life for her mum.

She said: "I have to be there for her and I want to because I want to see her get better.

"My ultimate goal is to see her have a better life."

The family have received support from the community.

Anniesland SNP MSP Bill Kidd said the city and Scotland should be "proud" of the 17-year-old.

He said: "Tashi has a lot of friends at school and in the area around Kingsway.

"These friends come from all sections of the community and they've been very supportive of Tashi and her mother before and during this difficult time of uncertainty over their flat.

"Everybody knows the stress of studying for their final ­exams and having officials breathing down your neck at this stage is really unwelcome.

"However, Tashi is a naturally clever and optimistic young woman and someone Glasgow and Scotland can be proud of and I wish her all the best for the exams and for the future."

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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