ZULFI Hussain's practice of Martial Arts was mainly for necessity than pleasure.

For Zulfi and his fellow scholars who had been bussed out to Eccleshill to continue their education it proved to be a valuable tool in terms of them looking after themselves.

Zulfi explains during the mid 1960s and 70s, and in line with a national initiative to integrate Asian pupils with their peers, young people from the Asian community were 'bussed out' to schools where, as Zulfi recalls, their peers weren't always welcoming.

Zulfi recalls the area he was sent to was particularly prevalent at that time with bullying and harassment.

"It was certainly not for the faint-hearted," he says, adding "there was a lot of bullying and harassment.

"You either became a survivor or a victim but a lot of us became survivors. We went to boxing clubs or Martial Arts to fight back," he recalls, referring to the past-time which would help him tackle the taunters.

"Having been beaten in the first few days it is amazing how resilient children are at that age. We had to stick together to survive."

Zulfi recalls when they initially arrived in Bradford many Asian youngsters were sent to so-called Immigration Centres.

Being among more than 100 Asian children, Zulfi questions how they could ever learn the language?

He says while 'bussing out' was seen as an experiment, he says it was 'flawed' which is why he says it was eventually stopped.

Zulfi is talking about his experience as part of a project funded through Artworks Creative Communities, a charity based in the Delius Arts & Cultural Centre, Bradford.

Based on the experiences of young Asian schoolchildren who experience 'Bussing Out,' the project is the brainchild of Shabina Aslam who, like Zulfi, can speak from experience.

Recalling the dispersal policy, Shabina explains: "Basically it said that any school that had more than 30 per cent black or Asian children in it had to be moved to other schools because they didn't want schools to have too many of the same ethnicity."

She explains how seeing a footnote about being 'bussed out' in a book sparked her own memories of her schooldays in Bradford where she grew up.

Shabina was eight when she was bussed out to her local primary school where, she recalls feeling like an 'alien.' "I remember being the only Asian in the classroom and being ignored but nobody was cruel."

She recalls happier times at Manningham Middle School where she says she felt part of its multi-cultural community.

Shabina says from the feedback she has had so far through her research from those who have been through the same experience, it seems the boys came off worse than the girls. "It wasn't negative for me, I wasn't bullied, I was ignored - a lot of children would say 'you're alright, you're different.

"Part of our experience was being thrown into the English/Yorkshire culture."

For many, the project proved to be inspiring. Shabina recalls one participant in the project who she spoke to was so inspired by one of her teachers she later became a teacher herself.

Zulfi welcomes the research being carried out for the 'Bussing Out' project saying it helps to record history. "It is really important from a historical context to record and archive this and make people aware these things did happen."

Shabina hopes to encourage more people who experienced 'Bussing Out' to contribute their recollections to the project which will form part of her history degree.

She already has a degree in librarian studies. Shabina recalls her happiest memories were spending time in the library in Bradford. "I read loads and when I came to the UK I spoke perfect English," she says, referring to the English speaking school she attended in her native Kenya.

As well as a degree in librarian studies, Shabina also has MAs in drama and media and communication which she undertook in London where she previously worked for the BBC and has directed and produced plays.

But since returning to the family home in Bradford, Shabina is now busy developing the 'Bussing Out' project which, she intends to become a play based on a bus which she eventually hopes to take on a countrywide tour.

"It would be great to encourage people to come forward because it doesn't matter whether they had a good or bad experience, it is all relevant because it adds to the historical record. It is part of our collective history."

To get involved or for more information visit bussingout.co.uk; call 01274 256919 or 07908 304428.