“ There is always a solution to every problem” -- Bashir Afsahi
Bashir Afsahi aka " Babi Amari", is a freelance artist specializing in Photography and Design. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada and is enrolled in the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising program at the Toronto Film School formerly known as the Academy of Design.
Born in Iran and raised in Hamburg, Germany, Bashir was exposed to prejudice in and outside of school at a very young age. For the most part, he enjoyed going to school until he had a few negative encounters with some of his teachers.
"I will never forget the words from one teacher: “you're slow that's not normal. All the other kids understand so you should too. I think you're just lazy or stupid”.
This bothered Bashir because he had difficulties in reading and he would lose focus quickly. To make matters worse, he was being pressured by teachers to read in front of the class, which didn't help his confidence. However, when it came to any visual and creative arts projects, Bashir thrived. It came so natural to him, which made many teachers question the authenticity of his work. This was a continuous battle for Bashir. During Bashir's last year of high school, one teacher picked up on his learning style. This would be the beginning of Bashir discovering his "Learning Advantage".
"My teacher turned to me and said “it’s weird to me when we have discussions in class. You are very knowledgeable and well spoken. I think you’re more bored and need to be challenged”
She requested to have Bashir's I.Q. tested along with other series of tests. They later discovered that he had an above average I.Q but concentration was a problem. Later that year, Bashir was accepted into an Arts and Graphic Design program and would receive more testing on his learning style. When the results came back, Bashir discovered he was Dyslexic.
"Despite this discovery, I still faced many challenges because I was never given any solutions. The teachers were a bit nicer and were lenient when marking my assignments, but I still struggled with my education. Without learning strategies in place, I was forced to trust my intuition. I also needed to feel more confident and do something that I truly enjoyed outside of school. This is where I fell in love with Basketball. It played a big role with my confidence and learning the strategies of the game helped me hone in on the skill of following my instincts."
After art school, Bashir had to choose to enlist in the German Army or to do social and community work for a year. In the end, he decided to move to Cologne, Germany and help the youth in that community. While Bashir was helping the children with their studies, he realized he was helping himself as well. He was able to apply some of the strategies he learned with the youth, towards his own learning. He began to feel more motivated about school again, so he enrolled in the Screen and Media Design Program. To his surprise, he experienced the same issues he had when he was in high school, where the teachers were no help.
Bashir was tired of the rejection, he was a go getter and needed to create his own lane. So he took a leap of faith and decided to open up his own Internet Cafe and created an human resources company. While following this career choice, he realized he was extremely detailed oriented and that character helped him with his business.
"Because I didn't learn much from the German school system, I had to create everything on my own. From my business plans to finances, I had to learn all of this through my business. I added so much detail to compensate for any potential mistakes or lack of information I might have had. This became sort of my signature."
After a few years of working for himself and running a successful company, Bashir decided to sell everything and travel around the world for two years. Upon returning to Germany, he went back to doing what he knew best which was painting, graphic design work and photography. This was natural to him and he was more at ease.
Bashir decided to move to Toronto and apply to a design school. He was hopeful and looking forward to a fresh start. On his application, he felt comfortable and confident to inform the school that he was dyslexic and continued to share this information to all of his teachers. During his third term, one of his teachers who was unaware of Bashir's "Learning Advantage", asked the Program Coordinator, if Bashir had issues with learning? The coordinator took a look at his application and discovered that Bashir was dyslexic. Accommodations were then given to him during exams and other tests. He was able to write them away from other students and was given more time to complete it. This allowed him to focus and organize his thoughts. His coordinator, encouraged him to be more open about his learning disability and not to put so much pressure on himself. Bashir was able to learn strategies by researching online and speaking to teachers who gave him various learning methods that really helped his progress. All these experiences have brought him to the point Bashir is today.
"I am comfortable sharing that I have dyslexia. I see it more as a strength rather than a disability. I am extremely fortunate to have the support and encouragement of all my loved ones."
“ There is always a solution to every problem”