This week we meet 24-year-old Mohamed from Somalia who tells us why he chose to take part in London Stories: Made By Migrants.
When did you move to London?
We sold everything and left Mogadishu, Somalia on September 12 2001, our destination to London, England where my father had been working for the past 2 years as a journalist.
I remember the day we had to leave for London like it was yesterday. I remember it being a very hot sunny day. My mum made me wear a vest, t-shirt, shirt, jumper and a coat on top and underwear, shorts and jeans on the bottom and 2 pairs of socks and Timberland boots because she thought it was going be snowing in London. Looking back at it now, I don’t know if it was that hot or it was due to the amount of clothes my mum made me wear.
Why did you want to take part in London Stories: Made By Migrants?
I can’t really give one reason for it, there are many but after Brexit and the backlash against migrants I felt really uncomfortable. When I saw this opportunity I thought, let me just tell my story. I felt like it was something I could do that shares the experience of migrants and shed some light on why we’re here, as the only stories that we hear are the ones from politicians, really.
What do you hope audiences will take away from listening to you and the other storytellers?
When people hear a migrant’s story they usually distance themselves from it and may feel like it’s something that would never happen to them. Something like a civil war or the economy getting so bad that you have to migrate is highly unlikely. So I hope that the intimacy of the storytelling will allow the audience to get a sense of what the storyteller might be feeling and put themselves in their shoes.
What’s been your favourite moment of taking part?
Writing my story was the fun part. I’ve never put pen to paper about my experience of coming over here and obviously when you’re writing something you have to re-write it and perfect it. I was surprised by how emotional it was.
Do you have a favourite place in London?
My favourite place would have to be the first house we moved into when we got here in Poplar. It was a new house with four bedrooms and a garden, and it had three floors. I had the whole top floor to myself and there was no view apart from the other side of the road which had a massive gas holder but I had always lived in bungalows so I was kind of excited by that.
> Find out more about London Stories: Made By Migrants, until 26 November