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As Official Overlay Supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, GL events UK has nominated Batonbearers to take part in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, continuing with Touran Saheghi.

Since seeking asylum from Iran in 2018, Touran has been living in the UK as a refugee, and is currently a volunteer with ChangeKitchen; who are one of GL events UK’s social value partners. With the assistance of a Farsi translator, Touran shares the many challenges she has encountered since her journey to England, including accommodation.

“At present, I live in a hostel with my partner and my ten-year-old daughter, where we all share one room. It hasn’t been easy living like this, sometimes it can be a bit uncomfortable. I have knee problems as well, so living on the second floor going up and down 40 steps a day can be challenging – but we’re thankful to be here together. I have four children in total, who are in different cities across the country. It’s not been the easiest three years.”

In addition to the geographical challenges, the language barrier has been another difficult obstacle for Touran. “My first language is Farsi and I don’t speak very much English, so it can be tricky navigating conversations, which is sometimes restrictive to communication, especially when I’m at work.”

Touran reveals that her work as a charity volunteer at Jericho has made a huge impact on her life, especially with the help and support of her manager, Tommy. “Since being with Jericho, I’ve vastly improved my understanding of the English language and I’ve learnt a lot about the charity sector. Though most importantly, I can’t express how happy I feel because of Tommy’s support. I’m progressing more within this role, everyday, through his help and guidance. He encourages me to take part in the weddings that ChangeKitchen caters for and other charity events too. I’m particularly enjoying being a part of the current events we are involved with as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.”

Owing to her knee injuries, Touran does not currently participate in any sporting pursuits, although, she shares her appreciation for being active and for the Commonwealth Games. “As a secondary school child, I did enjoy taking part in games lessons and a variety of different physical activity. So, the prospect of the Games is quite exciting for me.”

“I am proud to be a Batonbearer and to be involved in the Commonwealth Games. It is something to bring people together when that hasn’t been possible for a long time."

Touran SaheghiChangeKitchen Volunteer

Touran looks forward to learning more about the Games and shares her excitement to embark on her Batonbearer journey.I am proud to be a Batonbearer and to be involved in the Commonwealth Games. It is an event to bring people together, when that hasn’t been possible for a long time due to the pandemic. I’m particularly looking forward to the opening ceremony of the Games and, of course, carrying the Baton. I am honoured to have been nominated as a Batonbearer. It’s something I will remember for a very long time.”

As Touran reiterates her excitement for these Games, she looks to the future. “I’m learning a lot about the cultures and event programmes that are taking place in this country. It would be interesting to participate in similar opportunities in the future and to get my daughter involved, who is very keen to partake in events such as the Commonwealth Games.”

GL events UK wishes Touran every success with her future endeavours, particularly during her Batonbearer journey. For more updates on some of the incredible individuals and organisations that GL events UK is working with, please click here.