Isolation from Family

Haq Ismail: 126 Miles

Haq was born in 1970 in Pakistan. His family moved to Luton, England when Haq was eight months old. Haq attended his local primary school until he acquired a visual impairment at the age of eleven. He was then sent to a residential special school in Worcester and from there went on to university.

Here Haq describes being sent away from his family.


I kept saying to my parents, ‘Look, you know, please don’t send me here, I don’t want to be sent away, I want to stay at home.’ And, you know, my parents understood but they didn’t because they didn’t understand the system, didn’t understand the education authorities, how they worked, they felt that they didn’t have much of a choice, they were going along with what we were being told, yeah. Went there, and saw the place, it looked very cold, looked very alien, a lot of kids walking around with arms in front of their hands because they couldn’t see and stuff, that’s how walking around and like – and it just looked very, very strange. But anyway I went there, they asked me to do a test, you know, like an entry level kind of test so they asked me some maths questions and they read out a passage and asked me to describe what’s going on in this passage and what’s the main theme of it and blah blah. And so we did that and, you know, the result was they said that I’d passed the entry level test and I was eligible to go. And I just – absolutely devastated, they said to us, you know, my dad said to the welfare officer, whoever it was at the time, ‘We can’t send our son, you know, 126 miles away, you know, he’s,’ and I said, ‘I don’t want to go.’ And they gave us an ultimatum, they said, ‘Look literally, either you stay at home and do nothing, or you go to school and you’re at Worcester. Because you passed the entry level test, you’re clever enough but that’s the only place that can provide, you know, for your level of education,’ and so it was like I had no choice.