Umara Hussain

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Umara Hussain was born in Gloucester in 1985 of British Pakistani parents. Her father left Pakistan in 1969 to study at the University of Leeds and her mother came in 1978. Her parents moved to Gloucester in 1984 and after gaining postgraduate qualifications and professional chartership, are working at a senior level. Umara has one elder brother who is reading medicine at the University of Oxford and also has a little sister who is nine years old. Umara was educated at High School for Girls in Denmark Road. She initially had the urge to join the British Army to follow her grandfather's footsteps, but her mind kept changing. She is now doing A Levels in Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Economics and hopes to study sciences at higher education.

Umara has got a special interest in writing poetry and has had pieces published in the Gloucestershire Young Poets book “Look Out Look Vol.4”. A few of her articles have also been published in the local media and she worked as a volunteer with BBC Radio. Umara loves to listen to rock music and enjoys English food. She also plays table tennis.

She says: 'I am of Pakistani origin but a British Muslim girl. I go to Pakistan because all my relatives live there. I never realised what benefits I had until I saw Pakistan for the first time since the age of 14. Being with relatives was a great experience that I won't forget. I felt the love from all my family, which I had never felt before because I have no relatives in England. It gave me a sense of purpose and I felt like I was someone.'

'I had traveled from England in search of my identity. I found out that there is a part of me that has adapted to the English style of life and that I can never be as Pakistani as the people living there. The advantages of going to Pakistan, were that my mother tongue improved, my relationships grew stronger and I learnt more about my culture. I did not really feel at home though when I stayed with my relatives.'

'I also visited big cities like Karachi and Lahore and small towns and villages as well. I am able to compare the two different lifestyles people have there. Many places fascinated me. Museums taught me a lot about the history of Pakistan - how it was created and how culture has changed in Pakistan over the century. I made a speech at a women's postgraduate college on Independence Day, talking about the downfalls of our independence from the British Raja and the benefits of it. This won me a trophy that I am proud of.'

'I have decided that being British, I have more advantages than my parents and relatives had especially in that I have a better standard of education. English is my first language, but I can also communicate in Urdu, Hindi, Panjabi and German.'

'The disadvantage of living in England, is that I am far away from my relatives and do not have much face-to-face contact with them. We must learn that family life in England is very different to that in Pakistan. A half of me is Pakistani and half of me is English. I have found out that I must take the best from the Pakistani way of life and culture and also of the English. When these fit together, they make me a British Pakistani Muslim. I love England from the depth of my heart. It is my country, my Birth Country.'

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