a decade of the scottish guardianship service – zayn’s story


“My favourite Scottish word is daftie. I use it a lot.”

19-year old Zayn loves living in Glasgow.

“I feel like I’m home. Glasgow is just making me so happy every day. I think the memories that I’ve made with friends here, and just the people that I’ve had experience with, it’s a good feeling that I have in this city.”

The Kurdish teenager didn’t feel quite so at home at first.

“You have always that fear in you like, am I going to stay here? Am I going to get deported? I did not know anything when I came here. Am I going to be able to live in a safe place, in a safe country? I was worried about it all the time, all the time.”

During the years of uncertainty, worry, and fear, Zayn’s guardians Megan and Graeme were by his side. They supported him through appointments with lawyers and Home Office officials,  helped him apply for college, and introduced him to other young asylum seekers.

2019 was a good year for Zayn. Three years after arriving in Scotland from Kurdistan, he was granted refugee status.

“Guardians are like a miracle, an angel. They held my hand and moved me forward. I think having their help was a big deal for me. It’s like the difference between day and night.”

Now a student at City of Glasgow College, Zayn hopes to get a job in the media when he completes his HND in TV Production.

“A journalist, cameraman, sound, and lighting. That would be really good. One day I’d like to work for the BBC.”


Over the last ten years, nearly 700 asylum-seeking and trafficked children and young people have been supported by the Scottish Guardianship Service. The service is run by Aberlour Childcare Trust in partnership with Scottish Refugee Council.


© Photography by Robin Mitchel (robinmitchellphotography.com)