Asif Ali Gohar and his Journey from Pakistan to Germany

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For some people moving countries at age 12 may be intimidating and it may take some time to make new friends and to settle in. For Asif Ali Gohar there was difficulty learning a new language, finding his way around a new city, learning new places and meals, and interacting with others who are unfamiliar. Overcoming each of these obstacles make him see things in a new way and look at current processes and ways of life.

Only three years after relocating with this family from Pakistan to Germany, at age 15 he decided that he no longer wanted to consume animals or products that come from them. This new vegan lifestyle was an adjustment, but his family slowly increased their support as they saw that he was taking it seriously and would remain vegan permanently. This support was key to what was to come next.

In high school a project was given to all the students to look for items that are sustainable and eco friendly that are in use every day, or that can become used in place of traditional version. This included things like vinegar for cleaning instead of dangerous chemicals, bamboo fiber for clothing and flooring and all types of other items and learning how these types of changes are benefiting consumers and the environment. As he studied these, he found many solutions and saw several different types of products that were being made to fit with a eco friendly and vegan way of life.

It was while completing this project that the idea came to him to find an alternative to leather that would be not only vegan but also supple and easy to use. Current options where stiff, uncomfortable, or aged badly. This was the spark that led to the future of his career and business.

Settling into his new life in Germany no one could have predicted this outcome. As a boy he started making friends at school, finding a few close friends who were able to communicate and talk to him. He learned the language over the next few years and was soon fluent in German, able to talk to anyone in his school and his grades began to improve. With good grades, good friends, and a supportive family he was able to see the benefits of the move. His family made friends with some of the neighbors, which increased the people of his own age that he was exposed too and kids he could play with over the summer. During these years many nights were spend playing ball in the roadway, learning about the layout of the city, finding new sports to try, books to read, and places to visit.

Once fully immersed in the community he found it to be welcoming and supportive. Suppers could be shared with friends and neighbors, the smell of baking permeating the air as people made their favorites throughout the year, and there was always someone to help with homework.