Spaho Bajric

Born: 19th July 1944

Small town near Sarajevo, Bosnia

Date of interview: 23rd June 2006

Map showing where Spaho Bajric came from

What work were you doing during the day?

I was doing painting decorating houses and all building work, my employer, ordered me to do. I have to do it but when I finish at five o'clock at six o'clock I was at college. And I was, I said I will not spend the rest of my whole life working in the construction industry. I have to do something else and without English I can't do anything. [pause] When I come home at nine o'clock I had to prepare my dinner. Sometimes I know I slept on sofa. My dinner was on the table I forget for that. I was so tired. And in morning I have to go again for work. But I know life is difficult. Everywhere if you to a foreign country without language without friends without family without money you have to do something.

And ... in Reading we try to improve our life for refugee and we establish Reading Refugee Support Group. And I get idea and I was supporting from ... gentleman who was mayor in my town in Bosnia and we start to do this job on voluntary base. After that we apply to National Lottery Charity Board and we employ somebody part-time and after that full time. We help all refugee and asylum seeker in Reading with interpretation, translation, to find accommodation and with education, with other needs for travelling to college, clothes, with immigration. And it just became very respectable organisation and Reading Borough Council help us on many occasion.

My son at that time he got very good result at university and ... in his second year he's got Soros grant and he was working. He told me 'Dad I don't need your help any more.' I was so relaxed that I can concentrate to save money for my daughter because she was ready next year to go to the university. She applied to study pharmacy at Portsmouth University. She got place but the biggest problem was my son was third year she was first year. I have to support two student at same times what was impossible for me. I ask her if she can leave, one year take off. She was crying and she said 'Dad, please, I will work very hard and I don't need much help' but I found very good friends from Germany. I borrow money from him and I gave money for my daughter to go to university. She was so happy and she promise she will got very good result. It's happen. Next year my son graduated at North University College in London in accountancy and he promised 'Dad, I will help my sister. You take rest. You don't have to help her any more.' At that time I was so proud to have somebody who will accept responsibility and help sister to get education. He was helping her for all three years and I told ... I was different man at that time. And I said 'My children they are incorporate in this society. I can now, they can contribute now in this society because they took something from society, they have to give it back.'
I was studying my English on a regular basis and improving every day and I was looking around for job. Unfortunately all my applications were turned down.