Birmingham Letters to the editor, Dec 18th

GMT 18:44 Thursday ,17 December 2015

 Migrant Voice - Birmingham Letters to the editor, Dec 18th


Dear Editor,

England is such a nice country. If you as a newcomer come to the UK with an attitude that is open, friendly and willing to contribute, you have made a right choice. The people are so warm and welcoming. I was lucky to find friends over here and receive enormous support and encouragement.
I would advise any migrant coming to the UK to look at everything, try everything, and not be shy to speak to people. Life here is so interesting and gives many opportunities to explore a different culture. I believe that migration is a great push to develop your best to the good of everyone. That is what I want us to celebrate this International Migrants Day (December 18th)

Another good feature about the UK is that it is much warmer in winter than in my country! Minus 26 degrees is not for everybody, but some English are good at adapting to it (Steve, my husband, visited Russia last year and survived this cold with smiles and vodka for support)

Elena Jeanes


Dear Editor,

I am writing to you as we celebrate International Migrants Day on 18 December. I am a Zimbabwean and came to the UK in 2002 because of widespread harassment, death threats and torture of political opponents by agents of the ruling party in my home country.

Since arriving in Britain, I appreciate the respect for justice, equality and fundamental freedoms.

I would like to thank the UK government for supporting people fleeing from persecution and violence in their countries of origin. I also want to thank many charities which support refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

Yours sincerely,



Dear Editor,

While the government and many good Christians celebrate Christmas, isn't it ironic that whilst they rally and protest about refugees in Calais and the ones lucky enough to make it in to the UK, Jesus was a refugee and his mother turned away because apparently there was no room in the inn. Even though there probably was.

Salman Mirza


Dear Editor,

I remember as a little girl growing up in Africa sitting by the fireplace in the evenings, with my granny tearfully telling us how her friends and relatives travelled through caves and then by sea to be slaves in faraway lands - many never to return. 

As we celebrate International Migrants Day (18 December), memories of these stories and the fact that there is no more slave trade put a smile on my face. We still have migration, but for other reasons: people looking for work, or who have been displaced in their own country and seek refuge and asylum.

On this day, my hope and prayer is for the people of the world to be united in peace and love. 


Anne K


Dear Editor,

I came to Birmingham as a migrant in 2005. I got my degree and master degree at Coventry University and have been working in the care sector from 2011. Many migrants work in this sector to help people who are vulnerable, elderly or have special needs. I believe that migrants from different backgrounds, with different skills, experience and values bring a fresh perspective to this work.

In UK society today, most people view diversity as a good thing because it provides a variety of points of views and widens the pool of ideas.  This International Migrants Day (December 18th) I want us to remember the importance of diversity.

Hiba Babiker


Dear Editor,

On this International Migrants Day (December 18th), I would like to thank all those who have made Birmingham the city of Sanctuary by welcoming migrants in general, and refugees and asylum seekers in particular. I am grateful to the UK society for the support I have received here.

I moved to Birmingham in 2005 and I am now living in Sandwell. I have come across many wonderful people in the community committed to helping newcomers to get integrated and feel included. In my local community in Smethwick, there are at least 60 spoken languages, showing the diversity within the UK society. It’s an opportunity for all of us to celebrate this day and recognise the huge value of a multi-cultural society.

Volunteering has been part of my life since moving to the UK, having myself been supported by volunteers when I first arrived here and could hardly communicate in English. My commitment to volunteering is a way to give back to the community and show a good example and be a role model to many young people. Promoting community cohesion is one of my goals.

Everyone needs to feel part of this society and to contribute to the prosperity of this country as this is the only way we can fight extremism, stereotyping and racism.


Jacques Matensi-kubanza, African French Speaking community Support Charity


Dear Editor

Between 1998 -2006 GDP rose by 3.1%. Even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne believes that migration will stimulate growth of the present UK economy. Employment statistics for 2014 clearly specifies that the rise in work visa applications granted was due to the need for skilled personnel.

Though the contribution of migrants to society is great, some migrants still have to endure human rights violations, discrimination and exploitation. As part of the UK social fabric everyone should be treated equally and with respect regardless of whether they are a migrant or not.  Let us remember this as today we celebrate International Migrants day (December 18th).

Anusha Udumula


Dear Editor,

I write as the son of migrants who came to the UK in the 1950s as part of the Windrush arrivals who came to rebuild the UK after the war. I have been able to see first-hand the positive steps immigrants have made to the UK. 

My parents were often refused housing and loans and were forced to live in overcrowded conditions, 3 people in one-room bedsits. They worked 12-hour shifts and often had 2 jobs. Their contribution to English food, language, music, fashion is well documented. Even though life was hard in the UK my parents always made sure we their children were well fed and dressed even if they had to suffer. 

The UK would have very little culture if not for the contributions of immigrants. After all we were an island of Celts, Angles, Saxons, Danes and French immigrants and now we are even more diverse by accepting new communities and as such should celebrate the amazing diversity and richness of UK culture on International Migrants day (December 18th).

Yours faithfully

Thomas OFlaherty


Dear Editor,

I am from a migrant background and through the World Wars my family have spread in Europe and America from the time of the early 20th century. I came to the UK not only for economic success but to find a more free and liberal society. I am glad to be of mixed ethnic origin and to be able to speak many languages. My attitude is: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. 

This International Migrants Day let us remind ourselves of the benefits migration brings to our societies; that many inventors, scientists and educators were migrants.

On this day I also call for a ban on zero hour contracts as it creates opportunities for exploitation of workers, especially obvious in the case of migrants.

Ms. Natalia Budzan


Dear Editor

When my friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina speak of Human Rights, I always give them an example of the multi-ethnic city of Birmingham which I fled to with my family during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina more than 20 years ago. I just tell them, "In Birmingham there are more mosques than in Sarajevo and all who live here have the freedom of religion and the freedom to express their views.” So it is with all the other human rights in the UK. Unfortunately, it cannot be said for my country of origin Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has a lot to learn from the United Kingdom. This International Migrants Day I want to express my gratitude to the UK.

Namik Alimajstorovic


Selbin Kabote: My journey as a migrant:  a story of victory over adversity

I left my country of birth in Africa for the shores of the UK after training and then working as a Journalist for 15 years in Africa. As a journalist/producer I worked in highly digitalised broadcasting studios and newsrooms in South Africa which is a highly developed African country. Despite my skills and a journalism degree from a British University, I however realised after making a number of job applications, that I could not easily get a job as a journalist in a UK newsroom as I had no local journalism experience.  I then took the first step of working as a volunteer for many years and then received some in- house training as a sexual health promotion worker for a UK sexual health charity. The fact that I was completely moving into a new profession when I was already aged about  forty, did not hinder me from pursuing my aspirations of becoming a valuable member of the wider UK migrant community.

 Some years down the line, I have worked in the area of HIV/AIDS and Sexual health promotion and community project work where I have supported and empowered people living with HIV/AIDS. I have also disseminated information to young people and adults about these conditions for many years. I am of the opinion  that if  it is not for the work  that I and other migrants are doing  in this health related area, the government would be spending a lot of tax payers money on the  treatment and care for  conditions that are otherwise preventable through proper education.

It is against this backdrop that I strongly feel that many migrants are responsible and career minded people who are not scroungers but an asset to the UK economy. I know of many migrants from Africa and other parts of the world in my community who are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who despite their age are training to be nurses, social workers and teachers. Many of the migrants that I am referring to were once managers, marketing executives or occupied some positions of authority in their home countries, but they are however now retraining after identifying the areas or professions through which they can make some meaningful contributions to their adopted new home, which is the UK in this case. 

Statistics produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 11% of all staff for whom data was available and who work for the NHS and in community health services are not British.

The proportion of foreign nationals increases for professionally qualified clinical staff (14%) and even more so for doctors (26%), prompting the British Medical Association (BMA) to observe that without the contribution of non-British staff, "many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care to their patients".

A new study by “British Future” a think tank, established that more than a third of Britain's London 2012 Olympic medal winners were born abroad or had a foreign parent or grandparent.

On a lighter note, in the area of performing arts, two artists of a migrant background Reggie ‘N’ Bollie emerged as the runners up on the X factor UK television music competition franchise created by Simon Cowell.

Selbin Kabote


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