I came to the UK in late August 2013, excited to settle into a whole different world. My parents were already here with my sister and uncle and I remember walking up to our doorstep at 72 Cleveland Road and barging inside as if I already owned the house. That was me: a determined and bold but shy girl. I didn’t know anyone or anything not even the postcode to our house, yet I seemed to settle in well. I remember my mum keeps saying to this day how it never felt like I didn’t live in this place and it was almost as if I had been with them since the very start. It felt new yet familiar; a very comforting feeling that I didn’t realise until this very moment.

And here I am now, sitting in a black chair typing away on a wooden desk and gazing at the orange wallpaper of our study. It has been five years since we moved and so much has happened; it has made me realise that sometimes people can be unknowingly taking things for granted when really looking at it from the bigger picture some of us have the most to be grateful for. I think of my family back home and all their efforts to safely immigrate me to the UK for a promising future and how my seven years of life in Pakistan still remain attached to me and that I still connect to all the cultural festivals and traditions revealing me to my family roots and background.

It makes me feel lucky and fortunate thinking of all the exciting opportunities I have received over the past years and hope to embark on in the future yet I still think about those innocent children and shattered families on the borders of war-torn countries who aren’t getting a chance at life like they are supposed to; losing your identity and your life purposes in a sea of torture, pain and death. 

They need education, a home surrounded by their loved ones without having the need to fear who might knock at their doorsteps and food and water for sanity and survival. That’s what they need and are desperately begging for every second, yet we still manage to complain at every little discomfort or inconvenience in our daily life.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

By Kunjal Gopani, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle

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