Overcoming barriers and Pathways To Success

Though interviewees often spoke of the barriers they faced as they tried to adapt and settle in the UK, they also recalled their resilience and tenacity.

“My eighteen year old sister went to St Giles Hospital for a job and was refused. She was wearing Jamaican clothes. My wife was a nurse in Sidcup and said 'you need to have the right clothes, to look like them.' Eighteen years later my sister had trained at Queen Mary's and had seven nursing qualifications…She applied for the Matron of St Giles and got it.”
Mr King MBE, Jamaica.

People shared memories of their drive and determination to succeed.

Ten years I worked, not a single minute I came late or not a single day I'm off, always...ten years! I have my record, they survey one year and then they give me my certificate for my attendance, you see that I hard work, no any complaint from my workmen.”
Mr Hothi, India.

And achievements:

“…while I was working, I thought I better…keep myself busy. So, I started making enquiries about what qualifications I could do… To have come from more or less zero, to get… the top qualification in accountancy, was something. I mean…I say this with some…humility but also with, I suppose, pride.”
Mr. Windsor, Burma.


Others remembered their parents’ determination to provide a good life for them.

“My father worked in Ford Motor Company, and I remember him working Monday to Friday there and then Saturday, Sunday he worked as a security guard just to keep us going…at that time I couldn't see… but having looked back…now, I know why they had to do that…it was very hard for them…they got us educated and…got businesses and…it's because of them, this is the fruits of their labour.”
Mr Patel, Ugandan Asian, who has run a business in Thamesmead for over 30 years.

“Dad worked… for the bakery and he'd do 18 hours on the go… he's never had a penny off the state, and my Mum worked…all the ladies in that generation worked even though they didn't know a word of English…body language, they made do with that. They worked and they worked all their life… My Dad came here with three pounds because that was all he was allowed to bring and we are where we are through our own hard work.”
Mrs Randhawa from the Punjab, India.

Many participants reflected that their children had benefited from these efforts.

“I'm very appreciative…that…my children were able to go to the same schools as everybody else…all my children have done well...They're nicely settled….So, we, we were like the launch pad if you like…”
Mr Windsor, Burma.

“They happy, all happy. My daughter, her MBE, last year. My son is electrical engineer. My other daughter is a...solicitor's secretary. The other one is a work in a bank…my daughter, she write books, it's all good, all bella. My...granddaughter university, all three university now.”
Mr Sian, India.