Fatima

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I think it was a good decision to come to Birmingham. People in Birmingham were very friendly, all of them. They tried to help me. Especially when you tell them you are from Bosnia because they hear what is happening.

My name is Fatima Brkic. I didn?t choose to leave Bosnia. When the war started they sent us to a concentration camp. We had been there for three days then the Red Cross transferred us to Croatia. It was in the war as well, but it was a safer place. We were waiting for it to get better, to go back home when the Red Cross offered us England. I came over on 7th September 1992.

At first I had a two-bedroom house in Small Heath for a year and a half. I had three children, my husband and my in-laws. It was very small. It was a private landlord. I found a landlord who had a four- bedroom house so I moved from Small Heath to Five Ways, Edgbaston. I lived there for nearly five years I think. Then the four children were growing and so I moved again to Small Heath. It was a private landlord. I decorated the house, cleaned it, everything. After a year and a half he said he was selling that house.

I told the council I want to settle, not move every one or two years. So they told me I can go to a housing association. I applied to so many. Then I applied to Moseley and District.

My husband didn?t have any training. He just went to Matthew Boulton College with me for two years and learned English. The teacher in school when I took my children told me to learn English. My children picked it up very easily because they were young. Then I needed to fill in some form and I asked them how to spell this word, they told me a different word because they have so many different children and they speak many different languages in the playground. I asked them, is that an English word and they said we don?t know. Then I told my husband, it is better we learn it ourselves.

Yes I think it was a good decision to come to Birmingham. After four years so many people went back to Bosnia and the war wasn?t finished at all. We are not sure yet if it?s finished or not. Sometimes it?s really hard there.

My oldest son is getting married in July. My husband and my second son are working. My husband is a security officer and my second son is doing the same, but he is still studying at University. He is doing Business. My eldest daughter is studying psychology and law and my other daughter business administration. I like them to study as much as they can.

People in Birmingham were very friendly, all of them. They tried to help me. Especially when you tell them you are from Bosnia because they hear what is happening. I have been able to pass on advice. I say come to Birmingham, we have 95 families in Birmingham. We know so many families in Manchester, Edinburgh, and sometimes we celebrate. We have a community centre. And I know families that were in the concentration camp longer. I was lucky to be only three days.

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