Rita Ora describes the traumatic experience she had as a refugee from Kosovo.
The pop singer, 29, came to the UK as an infant from Kosovo when her family fled persecution against Albanians connected to the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Rita went on to grow up in Notting Hill, London, but it wasn’t always easy having sought refuge in the UK.
Rita explained the impact that the move had on her family, including her psychiatrist mother and economist father.
She said: “They left behind their whole lives and had to start from scratch when they arrived in London as refugees.
“But protecting us was their main priority and I count my blessings every day that they did what they did.”
Growing up, Rita saw how much her parents sacrificed and how hard they worked for their family.
“They studied, learned a new language, and raised my older sister, younger brother, and me well,” she said.
“They taught us to fight for what we want, to work hard, and to keep going; whatever your circumstances.” “I was often called a refugee in a derogatory way, however, I had lots of foreign friends and we all had a great time connecting through being different.”
The RIP singer still regularly visits Kosovo when she can and is keen to remain in touch with her culture from there, being aware of traditional dances and owning a lot of traditional dress.Despite growing up in London, Rita said: “I will forever be a true Kosovan at heart. I’ll never forget my roots and I’ll be forever proud of my heritage – I wouldn’t change a thing.”