Vicky describes her challenging childhood in Latvia and her difficult journey to Belfast. Having experienced employment exploitation, she discusses how language barriers obstruct access to basic services and explains why this led her to assist others as an interpreter. Vicky also explains how an active social life helps her create her sense of belonging and how border controls stand in the way of people being able to live free lives.
Action Cancer Volunteering
Latin Salsa in Belfast
Suleiman fled Somalia when the civil war broke out. He discusses racism and threats he has experienced since arriving in Belfast, his charity work, and how immigrants can be an asset to Belfast if there is space for them to participate in society.
Horn of Africa People's Aid NI
Phil, a software engineer originally from Barbados, talks about his passion for music and how Belfast inspires him to write. He discusses the connections between Ireland and the Caribbean. He also talks about the difficulties of raising his children as “ethnic minorities”, and why he dislikes that term.
Phil Robinson Music
Belfast Community Gospel Choir
Pang’s curiosity in Northern Ireland’s conflict led her to Belfast in the 80s. She discusses life as an overseas student, the difficulties for the Chinese community in Belfast, and her work such as organising Chinese New Year celebrations. She thinks that experiencing a wide variety of cultures can be the key to a beautiful life.
Taughmonagh Community Forum
Chinese Welfare Association
Mohammed is originally from Palestine and works as a staff nurse in the Ulster Hospital in East Belfast. He talks about how politicians’ and the media’s negative attitudes towards Muslims and immigrants led him to become an anti-racism campaigner, and how he now identifies as a Muslim rather than an atheist.
Attacks on Muslims overlooked
Metro Eireann: Mohammed Samaana
Keshav, a yoga instructor from Nepal, talks about how he lives in the present and feels at home wherever he is. He believes that a culture of love and respect is the only type of culture people need. He describes the activities of the Nepalese community in Belfast and how the Mourne mountains compare to Mount Everest.
Namaste Yoga Centre
Jenny’s parents are originally from Northern Ireland, but as a child they moved to Zimbabwe, where their whiteness made establishing genuinely egalitarian friendships challenging. A self-described ‘citizen of the world’, Jenny set up the Globe Cafe; a safe and inclusive place for migrants in East Belfast to meet others.
Globe Cafe Belfast
Embrace NI English classes
Edyta moved from Poland to Belfast with her husband and two children, and talks about the challenges of raising a family with Polish roots while feeling disconnected from their home country. She also discusses her views on stereotypes and her problem with the term ‘racism’.
Centre for Global Education
Arnau talks about how his lack of English was a barrier when he first arrived in Belfast, how he learnt the language, and how he now gives back to the community by offering free Spanish lessons in the Sunflower bar. He compares his life here to life in Barcelona, including friends, flags and the weather.
Belfast Free Spanish Lessons