Effecting change in more ways than one

By Saima Ashraf | 20 August 2019

I arrived in politics by an unconventional route. As a girl born in Karachi 40 years ago, I wasn’t expected to work, aside from running the house, never mind become a politician. My family moved to the outskirts of Paris when I was three months old. I grew up speaking French, Urdu and Punjabi. Tower blocks made up of multicultural communities became home.

At 18 I was married, by 27 I followed my husband to Barking, with three young daughters. By this time the controlling behaviour and domestic violence got worse. Within days we were abandoned in a homeless hostel not speaking a word of English, knowing nothing about the system, the rules or anyone.

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