Story by a participant in the Phulkari workshops


My father arrived in England in 1956.

In 1962. He went back to Pakistan to pick up my mother and my brother.

My brother was 8 years old at the time. And my mother was expecting with me.

They travelled from Pakistan to the UK by road. From country to country. Eventually landed in Bristol the journey took 1 month.

In Bristol my father worked very hard and many long hours in a restaurant.

We lead a very basic life enough to get us by through each day.

Sadly my father passed away in 1964. My mother was a widow at the age of 23.

My mother was devastated with our loss. My mother brought us up as a single parent worked very hard to look after us. My mother was also responsible for looking after other relatives who had travelled from Pakistan to Bristol.

My grandfather sent a telegram over to call us back to Pakistan because he realised we were struggling to make ends meet. And my mother would find it hard to work and look after 2 children single handed.

My mother insisted in staying in the UK to try and make a future for us.

My mother had numerous skills from Pakistan. She would use her sewing and dressmaking skills to make us clothes. Then other people would come to my mother to have shalwar kameez made. She started to earn a bit of living to help us get by.

My mother worked very hard to raise us.

I can remember in 1 year we moved 36 houses, eventually we came to Rochdale.

After 18 years my mother went back to Pakistan to see her parents.

I have enjoyed working on this project. I enjoyed the batik, glitter work on the petals and had fun working together as a group, it’s a shame that the older women didn’t get involved a lot more. It would be good to do something like this again and really get the parents and grandparents involved.