Our Lives Titles

A Better Future by Ximena Velez Arcila £3

Ximena describes her childhood in Columbia and how her life changed when her sister Maria Camila was born blind. Her mother decided to move to Spain where there were better opportunities for the blind and Ximena went too. She describes her life in Spain, her marriage and the birth of her daughter and how she and her husband struggled to make a living while her family spread in different directions. When her mother moved to England, again in search of better opportunities for Maria Camila, Ximena and her family followed, facing the challenges of life in another new country.

Finding the Unexpected by Babush Tesfay £3

After the tragic death of his sister and parents, Babush's happy childhood was shattered. He describes his struggle to survive as a boy and young man in Ethiopia, and how he travelled to neighbouring Eritrea where his life was transformed when he met the English girl who was later to become his wife. But his happiness was short-lived. After the outbreak of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea the couple were separated and Babush, in danger of his life, fled to Sudan. Finally the couple were reunited in Kenya and then started a new life together in London.

Achieving Against the Odds by Helene Ramazani £3

Helene Ramazani escaped from Congo when her life was in danger, leaving behind her three children. When she arrived in England as a refugee she was completely alone in a strange country unable to speak the language. She describes how she built a life for herself, learnt English and found work, caring for elderly people. She had two more children who brought her great joy, and her happiness was complete when she succeeded in bringing her three children from Congo to join her.

Never Give Up by Kristy Krasniqi £3

When Kristy refused to marry the man chosen by her parents, she was 'sold' by her father to two men and trafficked from Albania to Italy, France and Belgium and eventually to England. She was beaten, abused and tormented and received death threats against herself and her sister.

In England a good friend helped her to escape from the violent men she was working for. Thanks to an excellent lawyer, she won her case to remain in Britain, and is now planning for a brighter future for herself and her daughter, Mia.

From Sound to Silence by Rashida Abedi £3

Rahida is a profoundly deaf woman who grew up in Quetta in Pakistan and now lives in London. As a young woman engaged to be married she became deaf as a result of meningitis, and came to Britain in search of a cure, unfortunately without success. She was then threatened with deportation and after a prolonged campaign by friends and supporters she was eventually given leave to remain in Britain. Her extraordinary life story was written first in Urdu, her mother tongue, and then in English, which she learnt in England without being able to hear it spoken.

This edition includes a postscript by Rashida.

Standing on My Own Two Feet by Faizia Zaman £3

Faizia grew up in Bangladesh, with a childhood she remembered as idyllic. She came to Britain as a young bride and was happily married - until her husband suddenly died, leaving her with five young children. In her life story she describes the devastation she faced, and how she acquired a network of friends and increased confidence through attending English classes; with this support she was able to overcome problems of money, housing and her children's education.

After the sad death of their mother, her five children wrote a preface to pay tribute to their mother.

So Many Things I Could Have Written by Asha Mohamed £3

Asha grew up in Somalia, learning survival skills in a difficult environment. Though she had no formal education she supported herself and her family through running a trading business. She was an active member of the Somali National Movement which opposed the military regime of Syad Barre. She was imprisoned twice but managed to escape and fled with her two young children to England, arriving as a refugee, speaking no English. Carried by her determination, her ability to tackle practical problems and a lively sense of humour, she made a new life for herself and her children.

This edition includes a postscript by Asha.

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