Balquis, born in 1991 in Yemen, came to East London at the age of 14 with her mother and siblings to join her father.

Balquis’s parents were born in Yemen but migrated to Somalia because of the war. When war broke out in Somalia they returned to Yemen. Balquis was one at the time. They lived in Hadhramaut in the South where they had family. Her father, a tailor, also had a grocery shop and her mother sold home-made food. Hadhramaut borders the desert and is not far from the coast.

When Balquis’s mother had an accident, her father had to give up work to look after his wife and the family were turned out of their home. Balquis’s parents were keen on a better future and education for their children. Her father had not received an education and her mother had had to give up her education at the madrasa when she reached puberty.

The father migrated to London followed later by his wife and children. The family eventually settled in Newham. Balquis attended BSix College in Hackney to learn English and took a BTEC Course in Media Studies that she completed at Tower Hamlets College. Balquis went onto Ravensbourne University to do a degree in Media Studies, did a placement at Magic Me and now works in the media.

Balquis went back to Yemen in 2012. Initially she felt at home initially but soon found it too hot and the house too crowded.

Read Balquis’s spotlight story – So many people of every colour and nation



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