dawn of the new millennium provided the spur that resulted in the
publication of three books chronicling the challenges faced by Gloucestershire’s
first generation settlers from the three ethnic minorities as they
adapted to a new life and culture.
explains: "People from these communities were coming to the
library wanting to find out more about their background and history,
and how and why their older generation came to the county.
felt it was important to teach the second and third generations
about their roots and to make them aware of the difficulties
faced and sacrifices made by their parents and grandparents.
information we had in the records was very sketchy and I felt it
was important to teach the second and third generations about their
roots and to make them aware of the difficulties faced and sacrifices
made by their parents and grandparents.
beginning of a new millennium felt a good time for such a history
project, before the experiences of the generations who came here
in the 20th century were forgotten forever."
enthusiasm for the Our Untold Stories project won funding
from bodies including the city and county council and the National
was also very grateful for the support and cooperation she received
from the senior management of the Gloucestershire Libraries and
Information Service, especially Gill Barker, principal librarian,
three years she devoted to the history project, helped by a small
group of researchers from the Chinese, African Caribbean and Asian
communities, was rewarded in August 2003 when Our Untold Stories
was a winner in the Lottery Monitor’s 2003 Excellence Awards.
(right) and friends at university in Lahore, Pakistan
praised the project's "positive outcomes, sustainability, innovation,
cultural diversity and continued value to the local community."
stories have also become a valuable educational resource in county
for the first time they are published online in their entirety here
on the BBC website for Gloucestershire, as a lasting legacy of the
BBC's Voices of Gloucester project.
was launched to give a voice to local people whose views and ideas
had been previously unheard on the BBC, with the aim of promoting
greater mutual understanding and appreciation of the many different
cultural and religious elements of the area.
herself came to the UK from Pakistan in 1978. A graduate of the
University of Punjab in Lahore, she took a post-graduate course
at the University of Wales and well remembers the shock of adapting
to a new culture.
was very different from what I was expecting," she recalls.
"The climate, the cost of living, it was all a big change from
what I knew back home."
is married and has three children who have grown up in the UK and
feel as British as they are Pakistani.
(centre) with her sisters before she came to the UK
says: "They have, in turn, grown up in a very different world
from the background I came from – and their view of England is different
too, because they have been here all their lives."
story of her son Babar Vaqas,
who studied at Oxford University and is now a doctor, is included
in Our Untold Stories, and her daughter Umara
Hussain was one of the project’s authors.
says: "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."
Untold Stories has been a labour of love for Nasreen who laughingly
admits that the books themselves "are like having three more
children – now I have a Chinese child, an African Caribbean child
and another Asian child!"
with her husband and son Babar as a young boy
now that Our Untold Stories is in book form and online, is that
the end of the tale? Nasreen hopes not.
says: "There are still other stories to be told, from within
these three communities and other ethnic groups who have settled
the county. It is my dream that their voices will be heard too."
you have moved to Gloucestershire from abroad and want to share
your story Nasreen would love to hear from you. Just fill in the
online form and your details
will be passed to the Our Untold Stories project team.
three books in Our Untold Stories series are on sale through county
libraries, price £4 for the Chinese book and £5 each for the African
Caribbean and Asian histories.