IT seems like it was yesterday that I was attending Drumchapel High School. The daughter of a Kurdish asylum-seeking family, I was learning to speak and write English in my bilingual classroom with Mr Girvan, the best English teacher ever, Of course, it wasn’t yesterday, and this week, 15 years later, I and a number of my friends came together to relive those days and experience the latest production of the Glasgow Girls musical at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow.

On stage we watched our lives depicted as we grew to become the group known as The Glasgow Girls. We laughed and cried as we remembered the difficult days when we were asylum seekers.

That was how most people, and especially the media, regarded us ... just asylum seekers. Some saw us as “bogus asylum seekers”, who should go back to the countries we came from, with no regard for the terror, war and oppression that had made us seek asylum in the first place.

However, as the play shows, we were becoming something different. We were not just asylum seekers, we were Glasgow teenage asylum seekers, learning from our new surroundings and being inspired by new friendships and the values and experiences of great teachers, like Mr Girvan.

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If the Glasgow Girls musical was just great entertainment, with wonderful performances and stand-out songs – funny, sad and uplifting – then Cora Bissett, David Greig, Raw Material and the terrific cast would deserve all the praise they are getting. However, for Ewelina, Amal, Agnes, Jennifer, Emma and I, and, we hope, for thousands of other Glasgow Girls, it is much more than that.

What began as a desperate campaign to save one of our friends and her family – taken from their home in one of the notorious dawn raids – from being deported has become an inspirational story of solidarity, showing that the community will support the most vulnerable and that with determination we can stop injustices and change things for the better.

I wish, back then, that we had those great songs from the show to sing. Greats songs such as Glasgow You Are My Home and It’s No A Wean’s Choice. Our campaign would have been even more inspirational and fun!

There is a long history of Glasgow Girls making a difference, although many of their stories are not told. The women who organised the protests in the city for votes for women, Mary Barbour and the Rent Strikers.

And there are others, up to and including the women who this week celebrated the success of their campaign for equal pay in the city. We are proud to be in that company.

As the daughter of a Kurdish asylum-seeking family I am also proud to be associated with the many thousands of people from abroad who are now contributing to making Glasgow, Scotland and the UK a better place.

We celebrate those asylum seekers who are now famous for their contribution to our society. People such as Mo Farah; Rita Ora and Dua Lipa from Albanian backgrounds; and Iraqi-British award- winning architect Zaha Hadid.

However, every day thousands of former refugees and migrant workers who are not famous are making our country a better place to live by working in the NHS and social care – teachers, engineers, business people and trade union activists and human rights campaigners.

I am thankful to Glasgow for welcoming me and my family and proud to be able to contribute to the city and my country.

The Glasgow Girls story starts before the events in the play. In 2004, Mr Girvan had mentioned there was an opportunity to attend a workshop to learn how to make films.

Of course I asked if I could go along. So, Amal and I went to the workshop and met Lindsay Hill, who was interested in our refugee story.

Lindsay worked on the documentary about the experience of refugees in Glasgow, Tales From The Edge. She asked where we were from and we answered that I was from Kurdistan and Amal was from Somalia. She encouraged us to do some diary filming.

So we learned how to use the camera equipment and set off to film our family, school and community life, to depict how asylum seekers were integrating into Glasgow life. I filmed a few clips in my Kurdish community gatherings and other events too.

However, in 2005, Agnesa suddenly stopped appearing at school, and we learned that she and her family had been “dawnraided” from her home by immigration officials and police, detained, and she was to be removed to her home country Kosovo.

We decided to tell Agnesa’s story to the public and try to save her.

We started as a group of school children from Drumchapel High School petitioning, and built a campaign among the people of the area and eventually appeared in the press and challenged politicians locally and nationally to do something to save our friend.

Eventually we were successful, and Agnesa was released and her family allowed to remain in Scotland.

The Glasgow Girls story became famous and an inspiration to so many people, and the show ends in an uplifting celebration of the success of our campaign.

However, we hope that people understand that the Glasgow Girls story does not end there.

Our experience of being asylum seekers is still being repeated every day. People like us are still being held in detention and deported to war zones where conflicts are unresolved and where the oppression we fled from still exists.

The current UK immigration system remains inhumane and is broken. We are still vilified by some politicians and sections of the media.

The campaign to support asylum seekers and to end the UK Government’s “hostile environment” continues today.

We were a bunch of wee lassies from Drumchapel campaigning for our friend. We thought no one would hear our story, but we thought wrong, because this is Glasgow, and the people took us to their hearts and claimed us as their Glasgow Girls.

Where are the Glasgow Girls today? Emma works for BBC Scotland and volunteers in the community.

Jennifer is a nursery practitioner and a sergeant instructor in the Army Cadet Force.

Agnesa is a carer and medical administrator and Ewelina married her childhood sweetheart and has two beautiful young children.

Amal graduated with a Masters in Human Rights and International Politics and works for the Mental Health Foundation, has worked voluntarily in refugee camps in Greece and was honoured at the Saltire Society’s Outstanding Women of Scotland 2016.

Toni Lee recently married and has a child. She is studying to become a nurse. Noreen has retired to the Clyde coast and Jean still lives in the Kingsway flats.

I graduated from Strathclyde University after studying Law and Politics and am now working as office manager for Glasgow MP Chris Stephens.

In 2016 I helped to get funding for scholarships for asylum seekers with the University of Strathclyde, the first institution in Scotland to offer such scholarships.

In 2017, I stood as a Scottish National Party candidate in the Glasgow City Council election and was honoured by the Saltire Society as an Outstanding Woman of Scotland.

I am co-chair of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan.

We all continue to campaign for the rights of asylum seekers in the UK.

And Mr Girvan? He is enjoying his retirement by volunteering in his community.

Glasgow Girls will be performing in Edinburgh, Perth, Inverness and Dublin