A new hope: Migrating to Leeds for a better life.

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By Sarah Orton

Hungarian street stall owners tell their story of perseverance, determination, hope and love.

The City of Leeds is renowned for its cultural diversity. Everyday the aromas of global delicacies welcome shoppers, workers and residents of the city. This is thanks to the dedicated owners of street food stalls, who often set up before sunrise to ensure that they get the best spot in town. Many of these owners have migrated from different countries, with the sole dream of creating a better life for themselves.

In the heart of Lands Lane stands ‘Traditional Hungarian Food’ – a business ran by childhood sweethearts, Vali and Zoli Kowhen.

Zoli and Vali were born and grew up in Hungary - migrating to England over a decade ago.

Zoli and Vali were born and grew up in Hungary – migrating to England over a decade ago.

When asked about why they decided to migrate, Vali stated, “We came here for a better life. We come from Hungary and there wasn’t much for us there.”

He continued, “All we have ever wanted is a secure job, a home and a healthy family. She [Zoli] wanted to follow our children here, who had moved to study.”

Describing the hardships of migration and running your own business within the oversaturated food industry, Zoli explained, “Times have been hard. We work in our stall six days a week, selling food to the locals. Sometimes business is scarce, but we’ll always make it through together. He’s the love of my life.”

The couple work at the 'Traditional Hungarian Food Stall' six days a week to support their family.

The couple work at the ‘Traditional Hungarian Food Stall’ six days a week to support their family.

When questioned about how they find living in Leeds in comparison to Hungary, Vali stated, “Our life might have its tests but it’s certainly better than if we stayed in Hungary.”

Zoli concluded, “Although we didn’t necessarily get the life that we were originally looking for, we got more than we could ever ask for.”

“We’ll be forever grateful for Leeds and the life it has given us.”

Whilst migrating to another country and city is daunting task and without its hardships, both Vali and Zoli have displayed how perseverance, determination, hope and love can make for a better life in Leeds.

About the Author

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This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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