I was born in Afghanistan, as the Soviet-Afghan war raged. It was as a teengar that, with my mother and three sisters, I fled to the Netherlands. As such, it was from a very young age I was compelled to learn to communicate in different languages with people from a variety of backgrounds: national, cultural and religious. The challenges of my childhood resulted in me unconsciously functioning as a bridge between people. I was an interpreter, a translator, a mediator, a negotiator, a representative as well as an advocate for those in my immediate vicinity, irrespective of where I was.
In 2005, I returned to Afghanistan. I went back to try building a future for myself in which I could contribute positively to the society and development of the country of my origin. I was quickly disappointed; corruption, instability and a lack of meaningful opportunity meant I returned back to the Netherlands. Back in the Netherlands I worked several jobs, for a while working abroad as well as starting a business. After a decade in the professional world, I felt unfulfilled and above all, unchallenged. I decided to pursue my studies at Leiden University, on top of which I worked as a freelance interpreter for refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Once again, I was caught in a scenario, acting as a medium of communication for people from different backgrounds, within the apparatus of courts and ever-evolving immigration policies.