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AMES client finds meaningful engagement at the gym

31 October 20130 comments

Amir Kashani x 350pixFor AMES client Amir Kashani, the chance to go to the local gym and swim or work out is a godsend.

Amir is one of the first clients to take advantage of AMES Meaningful Engagement initiative.

His gym membership is a result of AMES partnership with the YMCA in providing opportunities for asylum seekers to take part in sports and fitness programs.

Thousands of asylum seekers on bridging visas are living in Melbourne’s suburbs with little money and no work rights. They are starting to take up opportunities to get involved in sport, arts or cultural activities under the Meaningful Engagement initiative which is aimed at staving off boredom and connecting them with local communities.

I’m very lucky to be able to use the gym and to go swimming here,” Amir said.

“It’s very good for the body and your health and mind,” he said.

“I have a lot of time on my hands and it is good to be able to do something useful to occupy myself,” said Amir, an agricultural engineer from Iran.

Amir, 32, also volunteers at the Collingwood Children’s Farm and the Clayton Organic Farm.

Amir said he was forced to leave Iran because of problems with the government over his Christian beliefs.