The travel industry is being called upon to help an Afghan refugee realise her dreams of becoming a pilot.
Zainab Hossaini arrived in Britain during the early hours of Christmas Day last year onboard a 12ft dinghy, after making the perilous journey across the English Channel.
It was the final leg of a two-year journey which began in Tehran, where she had been living since fleeing Afghanistan, and included time in Turkey, Greece (a year), Austria and France.
Now living in Canterbury, the 18-year-old aspires to take to the skies, having completed her first lesson last month.
Sunvil managing director Chris Wright is personally funding her second lesson and the Greece specialist operator a third.
Hossaini’s story came to the attention of Wright after he was contacted by a Sunvil customer on Twitter about a flight delay.
He later recognised the customer – charity worker Bridget Chapman – on TV discussing her work with refugee charity Kran (Kent Refugee Action Network), which has been supporting Hossaini since she came to the UK.
After learning about Hossaini’s dreams of becoming a pilot, Wright got in touch to offer his support. “Zainab’s story was one that really struck a chord, given the link to Greece and our shared love of aviation,” he told TTG.
“It would be absolutely brilliant if any airlines come forward to offer her a place on one of their training schemes, or provide bursaries that could really make a difference and turn her dreams into reality.”
He said he hoped to meet Hossaini during her second lesson, which he is in the process of arranging.
Chapman added: “Since coming to the UK, Zainab has worked so hard on her education and learning English – she is incredibly determined to achieve her goals.
Any help those in the travel industry could provide would really mean the world to her, and we want as many people as possible to know her story.”
Anyone interested in helping to provide funding for Zainab Hossaini can contact Chris Wright on email@example.com