Spaho Bajric

Born: 19th July 1944

Small town near Sarajevo, Bosnia

Date of interview: 23rd June 2006

Map showing where Spaho Bajric came from

When roughly was it that you came here?

It was sixth of October 1992. I do remember exact date when it was. And after ... one week something like that they accommodate us with some families, Reading family houses. I was with one family near Cemetery Junction for three weeks and people who brought us here they offer me accommodation. It was in Newtown one old house and this just simple furniture but the most important I was free.

What's happened after that? I didn't know anything about England. I didn't know anything about system how it works here and I didn't know anything about Social Security service because in Bosnia we did not have it. Only if you worked you can get money. If you don't work nobody will help you. And we got free accommodation and other time income support for me and two my children. I was so embarrassed. It was so unpleasant situation that I would take something that I did not earn. It was first time that I feel 'Oh, I'm guilty, I taking money from somebody who earn is not my money.' Other people try to persuade me that other people claim as well, is not shame. It is situation that I can't change anything. And after the people help me with some clothes I had only one trouser and about fifty pound in my pocket, everything was my capital. All my money it stay in bank in Bosnia and I wasn't able to bring anything with me.

At that time I was going to speak English. What I should do? I was in country ... that I can't communicate with other people. My son and daughter they speak little bit English because they learn at their school and university and I had always to ask them to translate with something, to help with something. I feel that I was probably the most stupid man in world and it was funny but you can't communicate. I met one French man. I start to talk French and after that I said 'Oh I am all right. I can communicate with other people.' People who help us in church they care about us to find some English lessons and it was volunteer who start to teach me. My first lessons was in St Saviour's Church.

After ten days gentleman who was responsible for everything his name was John and he made me ... shock. He brought interpretator from BBC and ask me 'Can I change my religious to join the church?' They provide and support for me and my children, they offer scholarship. I was so so upset.