I was just your average working class kid living in a small industrial town called Luton. My father had come from Pakistan on a working visa. After he had worked hard for six years, and saved his money, he sent for us. Me, my two brothers, sister and my mum.
We were the first generation here so I didn’t learn English until I went to school. I managed but my brothers struggled as they were in their teens and had to learn English and at the same time do their O levels, which were like GCSEs are now.
Everything was fine apart from family rows about money and the usual sibling rivalry.
I suddenly started to get headaches and my eyesight got worse all of a sudden. No-one knew what was going on, least of all my parents. They kept shouting at me and my oldest brother too for missing lots of school. The teachers at school also shouted a lot as I wasn’t focussing and I was making lots of mistakes and I could not explain why.
This was a very tough time in my life and I remember my mum breaking down into tears and I tried to reassure her but it didn’t seem to help much.
Through all of this I remember the girl who sat next to me in form class. Her name was Juliet. I would always ask her for help and she never said “no”. She would secretly read the blackboard to me and point out where the lines were in my exercise book as I could not see them anymore. I always think of her as she was so kind.
I am an adult now, with kids of my own in secondary school. I have a nice office job and a big house for us all to live in. Things are great now. I will never forget Juliet who was there for me doing the best she could for me.