Maryam, Pakistan

My name’s Maryam Quereshi and I’m 18 years old and I live in Portadown, Northern Ireland. My family’s originally from Pakistan and my grandfather moved here when he was 18 years old to look for work, and then he met my grandmother who’s from Donegal, and basically that’s where it all started. [My grandfather] first started off by driving a bus and then he opened his own clothing business where he would bring leather over from Pakistan and sell it here. He had a few shops then, and he done the markets as well. My mum came from Pakistan 24 years ago after she got married to my dad. They chose Northern Ireland because there were more opportunities for work here than there was in Pakistan and it would be a better place to bring up the family. I was born in Northern Ireland. I’m currently studying beauty therapy. 

Today I brought with me a dupatta. We would traditionally wear this on the wedding day. It’s handmade, and it’s really important because without it the wedding dress wouldn’t be complete. It’s basically the main part of the outfit and everything revolves around it - the way it’s positioned, the color, how long it is. You would buy it and it’s handmade by people back in Pakistan and brought over here. You usually keep them, or you could give them on or sell them. The wedding is basically one of the most important days of a girl’s life. It’s like a big change because she leaves her family and moves in with her husband’s family and his house. So it’s a big step. I’d like to continue these traditions, because I think it’s just part of me. 

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    Belonging Project