I am originally from Sudan and I have a degree in economics and social studies from there but I left in 1999 to join my husband who was living in The Netherlands. I had a baby there.
In 2003 I came to England for the first time to learn English and I continued to do a Degree in Human Resource Management at Coventry University. After achieving my Bachelors’ Degree I went on to do a Masters’ Degree in International Human Resources Management.
The time at University was challenging because the English language was difficult for me. But I heard that if you want success you have to imagine yourself in success. I put this in my mind and I start to take the first step.
The strong Sudanese community also made me feel welcome and made it easier to settle, but overall Birmingham is a welcoming city. After University I volunteered for around six months for a company as a HR person. However, I was not able to find paid work my field yet. While studying at Coventry University I worked with adults with special needs to help pay for my studies. I have now returned to work as a support worker in a residential setting for adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues in Birmingham. I practice Islam every day, I pray five times a day, I fast at Ramadan, I try to tell my daughter how to practice Islam.
Birmingham is a multicultural city with many religions living together, and I have many Christian friends and went with them to the cathedral or church, which gives you the opportunity to love everyone. I feel at home in the city. You can see different faces around that make you comfortable and not feel alone or home sick.
I like to eat in the Arabic and Indian restaurants around Birmingham. Life is nice when you are gathered with friends around a table of food, discussing books or events. I like writing and I like to read poems and novels. I am also part of a book club. I like doors and door art around the world. Doors mean a lot in my culture, it means open heart and welcoming everyone, and I link it all with cathedral doors. They are always open. In the Mosque or the church the door symbolises for me that it opens people to the perfect soul.
The great achievement in my life is studying. I am very proud that I completed my degrees at Coventry University at a time that was challenging for me in terms of family and a new language. My future plan is to start studying for a PhD and also to work with my organisation which was set up in honour of my mother’s memory: ‘the Fatima Educational Organisation.’
This interview is part of a series of stories of migrants in Birmingham produced by participants of Migrant Voice's 'Many Faces, One City' project. The project celebrates the contribution of migrants to life in Birmingham. It brought together migrants and host community in Birmingham to build their skills in telling stories of migration through text, photo, film and social media.