Spaho Bajric

Born: 19th July 1944

Small town near Sarajevo, Bosnia

Date of interview: 23rd June 2006

Map showing where Spaho Bajric came from

Why were you not allowed to go?

I had travel document, blue one. They said you can visit any country except your country. And I was looking my house. It was only couple of miles from border but I wasn't be able to go and see my relatives and friends and see my house. They come to border and we met each other. We were crying at that time. I spend a whole day with them and I had to go back to the United Kingdom. Friend of mine he took minibus to town Tuzla for handicapped children.

I ask what's happened with my property ... in Bosnia. My three bedroom house which I use for weekend was absolutely destroyed. My flat in town Dobor was occupied by Serbian people and I wasn't be able to go to take it back. After ten years ... I got it. I got it. And it was impossible for me to live with people like before. When I went to college where I used to work ... it was 200 lecturer, professor, teacher ... different nationality as Bosnia is mixed country. We have Croatian Catholics, Bosnian Muslims, Serbian Orthodox and other people. I found 200 Orthodox Serbian and I ask for my document to give me back, and I was so frightened you know and somebody will attack me at that time. They hate me because I was different from them and I had to pay money to get it back. It was very sad. And I took my diploma, university diploma, and all my documentation where I used to work ... to have for my
... document.

When I come back from Bosnia I had to concentrate to see what's going with my daughter and she was passing all her exam and at the end she invite me for celebration at her college in Portsmouth and she's got degree in pharmacy, but my son at that time he was doing chartered accountancy. He told me 'Dad, I have to do a little bit more' and he's got a degree as well in chartered accountancy.

I was working in Ealing Family for full seven years helping with refugee and asylum seeker and when I was reached sixty, I thought it's time to be retired, early retirement. And why I decide like that [pause] I had to concentrate to do more charity work to help some Bosnian people here. I am chairman in Reading for Bosnian people. We establish Bosnian Emergency Fund. We have fifty disabled people and we have to provide service for them, interpretation, translation. We have to visit them every day. But I concentrate more to establish with other people Bosnian supplementary school. We establish here eleven Bosnian schools in different places - Birmingham, London, Manchester. We don't have in Reading here, we don't have many Bosnian people.

And now I am headmaster of the Bosnian School. And recently people elected me to be chairman for twenty-three Bosnian organisation in United Kingdom and Ireland. And I was so proud to do it but it's a lot of work. But when you start to do something like that, you will never stop. And I have now time to do it and I promise I will help other people because somebody was helping me.