Printed by Guardian Print, Nenagh, ‘Transcending Your Now: Leveraging Your Reality’ by Hashmet Dilawer Khan is now available locally.

Local life-coach's new book looks at maximising your potential

An asylum-seeker living in Borrisokane has just published his first book, in which he draws on his life experience to help guide others on their journey.

Hashmet Dilawer Khan has been based in Borrisokane with his wife and four young children since December 2019. Born and raised in South Africa, he has also lived and worked in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Oman as a teacher in schools and universities, religious institutions and at an oil company training facility.

Having now found their way to Ireland, Hashmet and his wife Galeema have been teaching English to other asylum seekers. They were sent to live at a hotel in Co Monaghan for three months before being transferred to Borrisokane. There was no school available so Hashmet and Galeema began teaching basic reading, writing and arithmetic to the children in their group.

Now Hashmet, who also leads weekly Muslim prayer services in Nenagh, offers life-coaching lessons based on a course he previously undertook.

“We were trying to be an asset rather than the preconceived notion of asylum seekers being a burden to the system,” Hashmet said of his and his wife’s endeavour. And he has found their efforts appreciated in his new home, where Hashmet and his family have settled in quite well, despite the problems of the Covid-19 pandemic following so soon after their arrival. The family particularly likes the park in Borrisokane.

“So far, it has been a positive experience - 90% positive,” Hashmet said of adjusting to life in Ireland. “Every situation has its ups and downs but I feel that if you stay within the parameters in the society, if you try to contribute in some way other than - and it sounds a bit harsh, but - to leech off the system all the time, then you will be received in a more positive light. The perception will be different rather than if you do not try at all. That has been my personal experience so far.

“What I like about the Irish is the people are straightforward. Most of the time, what you see is what you get. I prefer it that way because there is no illusion and you know exactly where you stand.”

While he had no choice in the matter of where he would live in this country, Hashmet said he chose to come to Ireland largely because he feels an affinity with its history. This is, he said, particularly borne out in local solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Hashmet spoke at length about the difficulties of life in South Africa, including a 40% unemployment rate as well as escalating violent crime and widespread kidnapping of children. Fearing primarily for their children (ranging in age from 9 down to 3), Hashmet and his wife have come here in search of a safer new beginning.

And in doing so they have found time to write books that have long been in gestation, and with which they hope to put their experiences to the benefit of others. Galeema, who has trained in domestic abuse counselling and volunteered as a rape crisis worker in South Africa, recently wrote a book about relationships. This inspired Hashmet to put pen to paper and finally publish a book that is in many ways the culmination of his “transformative journey” of many years.

Titled ‘Transcending Your Now: Leveraging Your Reality’, Hashmet’s first book is also a testament to his attempt to make a positive contribution to society.

“It’s about taking the cards you’ve been dealt and, instead of complaining, making the most of what you’ve been given and trying to maximise on your potential and your circumstances,” Hashment explained of his book. “This is basically the steps that I have followed to achieve what I have so far.”

The book features four chapters, at the end of which are introspective questions for readers to ask themselves. It encourages readers to take stock of where they are in life with guidance on, for example, forming good habits in our daily routines; healthy eating, and even the people we keep company with.

While stressing that his book is not a “step-by-step manual”, Hashmet believes ‘Transcending your Now’ will prove beneficial to individuals in most circumstances and could even extend to corporate uses. But perhaps its greatest use will be derived by school and university students, many of whom have lost their focus and, Hashmet finds, need encouragement to realise their full potential.

“They need guidance to try and stay motivated and achieve their goals,” he observed. “That's what I speak about it in the book - to take what you have and maximise on those factors and your own natural potential to achieve what you want, and to have clearly defined goals in the first place.

“Because young people - whether I was in Saudi Arabia, Oman, South Africa, Ireland - it seems the same: they need to be motivated. They sometimes lack ambition, due to various factors, so they need to be reminded of what is out there. Because when I speak to young people here... they keep saying: ‘oh, I want to be a hair stylist, I want to be a makeup artist, a barber’; which is great! But how many barbers do we need? With all the opportunities that are available here, the sky’s the limit.”

Hashmet hopes to be granted asylum in Ireland so that he too can maximise his potential and make a greater contribution to society. He is presently focusing his energies on studying for a MBA and has plans to write another book further down the line.