I was born in Pristina, Kosovo forty one years ago and have been living in London since 1991. I’m a mother of a three year old daughter; Beatrice, from my partner, whom I’ve been in a relationship with for nearly twenty years. I was only eighteen when I came to live in London, and I left home at such a young age due to the political situation in Kosovo that was rapidly deteriorating and which continued to worsen until 1999. At the time, there was no future for my generation, further education was becoming impossible, as all universities teaching in the Albanian language were closed by the Serbian regime. Moreover, unemployment was rife and there was no potential to explore or enjoy the luxury of being young. This led to myself and many of my generation being forced from our homes, families and communities to pursue lives abroad. I arrived in London – I had to survive… pursuing work that I could quickly find… to pay my rent, bills and most importantly, support my family back home, who desperately needed financial aid. My dream at the time was to become a Fashion Designer, however, when I arrived in London, it was not so easy to dream. I had to adapt to a different world, culturally, linguistically and emotionally and most importantly I had to survive. This meant pursuing work that I could quickly find, which was in restaurants and bars; work that allowed me to pay my rent, bills and most importantly, support my family back home, who desperately needed financial aid. This was due to the severity of events unfolding in Kosovo, in which the majority of native Alba [...]

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