Monday, 15 June 2015

Refugee Week 2015: 15-21 June: Three stories about refugee people to touch your heart

Over the years I have worked with Refugee and Migrant groups, sharing and telling stories about their experiences, stories of universal Human Rights that concern us all in this - Refugee Awareness Week - and every week.

Here are three excerpts from stories that I hope will speak to young and older empathetic hearts.

The Patchwork of Storytelling. A Unique and collective art work by refugees and migrants.

Refugee Week 2015: 15-21 June

Aisha from 'Red Leaves' 

'The memory of the day that she had arrived in this country returned to Aisha like a slap in the face. Back then the whole world had seemed to tower above her like a giant shadow. She looked around the little bedroom that Liliana had decorated so beautifully for her. She would never forget the sweet smell of that welcoming vase of lilies her foster-mother had placed on the table. In those first traumatic days something about the flower scent wafting around the room had comforted her....Aisha replaced her necklace and took comfort in the warmth of the beads against her skin. This was the only precious thing that she had brought from Somalia: the prayer amulet made of jet that had belonged to the mother she'd never known. Her Abo had given them to her before they's said their last goodbyes. Since the days she had left Somalia she had never taken these beads off except to  wash and bathe. She could picture her father now, proud and tall, with his white cap covering the crown of his head. his warm, bearded face looking at her with patient dark eyes, full of love.'

Page 61 - 62 ' Red Leaves'  (Published by Macmillan Children's Books and Endorsed by Amnesty)

Dele from 'The Arrival'
On the memory of a long journey at sea and shipwreck.

'Sometimes I wonder how many there are,thousands I think, just like me, floating on the oceans between our world and yours.... these stories of leaving and arriving with nothing but this giant egg of hope.'

(Co-Created by Sita Brahmachari and Kristine Landon Smith for Tamasha Theatre Company)

Refugee Week 2015: 15-21 June
Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

This year, the theme of Refugee Week is 'celebrate', and people will be invited to discover and share stories of positive contributions from refugees to the UK throughout history to the present day.

Counterpoint Arts (who coordinate Refugee Week), with funding from UNHCR, have created Traces Project, a digital timeline highlighting arts and cultural contributions by people who have sought safety in the UK, from 1933 to the present day.

Follow @AmnestyUK or @RefugeeWeek on Twitter, or AmnestyUK or Refugee Week on Facebook, to retweet and share, using the hashtag #RefugeesContribute.

Visit the Refugee Week website to find out more.