Amir is a tailor and a refugee from Iran recently resettled through LSG in Savannah. Refugee Services Case Manager Amelia Iaderosa interviewed him about his work as a tailor, his refugee experience, and his hopes for life in the United States.
Amelia: Tell me about the work you did before you moved to America.
Amir: In Iran, my parents owned their own tailoring shop. I was born into the tailoring profession, and from the age of 10, I started learning the technical skills needed to become a tailor. When I had to flee Iran, I went to Turkey. In Turkey, I was able to use my knowledge of tailoring to find employment and support myself. I lived there for 4 years before I came to America. For the first two and a half years, I would go to different tailor shops and fill in as needed. During this time, I did not feel satisfied; I was working for employers that did not want my input or to use my skills and I was working 12 to 16 hours a day just to survive. I eventually moved to a new city and found a job working with a larger company that allowed me to utilize my skills more. Being able to use my skills and work with a company that saw my potential made me feel satisfied, but I was still looking for more in my life.
Amelia: Tell me about your job now that you are in America.
Amir: I feel alive here in America with my new job; my job is a part of who I am as a human being and I love that. I am working for a local designer who has started her own fashion line and it is growing daily. I create dress samples for the designer and I can see that she is satisfied with my work and that makes me very happy. I feel like I am being helpful and doing a good job.
Sometimes the designer will give me a garment and ask me how to make the garment look the best, how it should be adjusted to make it the best it can be for the company. I knew from my work in Turkey that I had talent working in bulk production, but I never was able to do the intricate work I am able to do at my new job. At my new job I have the opportunity to give my input and recommendations. I feel like I am a part of a team now, and that my position is very important to the future of the company. This is why I feel so alive in America; I see that I am really a very skilled tailor and I have a chance to improve my ability and get better and better at my trade.
Amelia: What are your hopes for the future?
Amir: I want to excel in all things dressmaking and fashion design. I want to go to the top of the industry! To do this, I wish to study fashion design and learn all there is to create my own fashion line and my own business. I know I can do this because I am in America now and I have the opportunity to improve myself. Someday, you will see me with my own brand and new designs.
Amelia: What is a message that you want to send to others in America about your experience as a refugee?
Amir: I just want to say to American people, be grateful for what you have here in America. As a refugee who came to the US at the age of 24, I had to start a new life at level zero; all I had was my tailoring experience. Please use the opportunities you have to be successful in America.
Amelia: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Amir: I want to tell LSG, I am very appreciative of what you have done for me. I cannot say in words, or find a real way to thank you for everything you have done. I am just very thankful for everything you do. During this job I have found my talent and I am hopeful for my future and to make all of my dreams for the future come true.
I also want to say, I have learned something new in America, and I have found the value of time. When I was in Iran, I would work a few days of week and the other days I would just waste my time. Now here, I know how important it is to use my time wisely in order to be successful. I know now how important my time is because I have been born again in America. I have many difficult experiences in my past and I feel like I have lived more than 24 years because of this. But now that these experiences are behind me, I know that I can start new in America and fight through the bad and live my life the way I have always dreamed!