After two years of homelessness, linguist Pandora Khody, 21, works long hours to ensure she’s got her own place to go back home to. A big fan of fashion and art, here Pandora explains how life is looking up since she discovered the Pilion Trust. Q&A with Nicola Baird
Q: What’s your connection to Islington?
“I came to London when I was 10 or 11 and grew up in west London, then I moved around a lot. I used to rough sleep around Islington for a while, from 18 – 19 years old. Now I live in east London. I’ve lived in so many places.”
Q: How did you discover the Pilion Trust?
“Through my friend Fardowsa – she introduced me to Savvas [CEO of the Pilion Trust which runs a night shelter for young homeless Londoners]. On the day I got in touch with him I went to stay at the Crash Pad. I thought it was going to be a hell hole but I felt really safe and nurtured.”
“Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female adult is very common, especially around Islington. The health care, government, media and stereotypes that we face for being homeless is very harsh. We need to raise the red flag. We need more support – hostels, shelters, access to food, clothing, money and counselling.”
Q: Are you working?
“Since December I’ve been working at Ugg (a famous Austalian sheepskin boot brand) in central London and really enjoy it. One thing I really like about my work is there are so many tourists and I’m able to use all my languages. It makes me look back a couple of years and think oh my god I’m here. I love the staff and conversations with the customers.”
Q: How are you feeling?
“I’d been homeless for three years and a bit. I never really thought I’d be working where I am, or I’d be renting and earning money. I always looked down on myself. If it was not for Savvas, and my partner, I’d not be here. Life can always improve but I’m very happy with my life.”
Q: Why did you get involved in Engage London?
“I like to get myself involved in activities and experience new things. Because of Savvas I was confident that #HearMeSpeak was going to help me gain knowledge, confidence and have a learning experience. And I enjoy being with everyone, the activities and being creative.”
- See Pandora on the TV panel live Question Time show here.
Places Pandora likes in Islington
Angel – it’s really small but has so many things to look at and I love one vintage charity shop. It’s also got really nice restaurants and the Business Design Centre where they have shows. I like the way you can walk from Angel to Cally Road by short cuts and can walk to central London.”
King’s Cross– My all time favourite place is King’s Cross. It has an amazing canal view, fountains and events. Also it was there where I worked at London Fashion Week (LFW) at the University of Arts London (UAL) Central St Martin’s where I was accepted ,but didn’t take up the place. I could not have had the experience working for LFW if it was not for Savvas
Pandora is one of the three members of Engage London team who is due to go to Romania to meet Engage Europe. Safe travels, or as they say in Romania, cālātorii sigure.
Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female adult is very common, especially around Islington. The health care, government, media and stereotypes that we face for being homeless is very harsh. We need to raise the red flag. We need more support – hostels, shelters, access to food, clothing, money and counselling.