With 65.6 million people who have been forced from home and 22.5 million refugees around the world, we need to find ways to help these people rebuild their lives. Refugee Week is soon approaching, and we are going to give you some ideas on what you can do to learn more and help make change in London.
- Go to a Migrateful cooking class
Start the week by going to a Migrateful cooking class. Here you will learn how to cook Nigerian food with Betty, who was trafficked to the UK when she was 16 and at 34 is still waiting to receive her refugee status. Migrateful is a cookery and language initiative where asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, struggling to access employment because of legal and language barriers, teach their traditional cuisines to the public. Migrateful acts as a bridge between people with refugee and non-refugee backgrounds, as well as between different groups within a community, their chefs coming from all corners of the world; Syria, Iran, Albania, Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Congo, Pakistan, Cuba and Ecuador.
The Migrateful chefs are offered support, attending weekly training sessions that include English tuition. Once they have the right to work they are paid to lead the cookery classes. To support Migrateful and learn new culinary skills book to attend one of their open classes for £35 or book a private class.
- Go to the Migration Museum
The Migration Museum Project aims to promote the ways in which the movement of individuals to and from Britain has shaped us, as well as our communities. Take a trip during Refugee Week to enjoy some art and educate yourself at the same time. Explore the exhibition ‘A Polaroid for a Refugee’ for free, where you will find images depicting points of transition in the lives of individual refugees. Since 2015, the photographer, Giovanna del Sarto, has visited and volunteered in various locations across Europe which have seen a large number of refugee arrivals.
If you are a fan of literature then end the week at their event, ‘Literary Natives, Literature, Art, and Transnational Identites’, spending an afternoon immersed in discussions, readings and performances by authors, poets and storytellers. Buy a ticket for £8.99.
- Go to a dance performance
Watch an informal show, performed by refugees, at the Shakespeare’s Globe. The performances are split into two parts and explore themes of displacement, culture and identity. Part One, ‘Fragments’, draws on music and movement from the participants’ homelands, as well as their experiences and impressions of resettling in London. ‘Fragments’ has been created through workshops by Single Homeless Project in collaboration with theatre-maker Mo’min Swaitat, with support from Shubbak Festival.
In Part Two, ‘Safar: Journey’, women perform a dabke dance to celebrate the resilience and resistance of refugee women. ‘Safar’ is the result of a dance project led by Hawiyya Dance Company that provides a safe space for women to come together and learn dabke dance. The performance will be accompanied by musicians from Music with Refugees. Buy a ticket for only £5.
- Go to a documentary film screening
If you prefer to watch films, head to the screening of ‘Another News Story’, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. There will be an exhibition, ‘Where we are Now’, a documentary photography project. At this event you can reflect on platforms for refugee voices, mainstream representations of the ‘Refugee Crisis’, as well as the responsibilities of journalists and documentary makers. Filmed during the mass migration of refugees during 2015, ‘Another News Story’ goes behind the scenes as director, Orban Wallace, turns the camera round to the journalists, photographers and film-makers capturing news stories during this period. Kate Stanworth’s photography, ‘Where we are Now’, explores the personal narratives of displaced individuals in Europe who have come from Africa and the Middle East. She focuses on the psychological survival techniques migrants use to reframe their stories and notion of home.
The event will be followed by a panel and Q+A with producer Verity Wislocki of ‘Another News Story’, the photographer Kate Stanworth and forced migration researcher, Ahmad al-Rashid. Register for this today.
- Go to a Panel Discussion on Creative & Positive Responses to the Refugee Crisis
Join a panel discussion that will celebrate artists, performers and charity groups who have responded with positivity and creativity to the heart-wrenching reality that those in displaced situations face.
The panellists include: Clare Wilson, the co-founder of Welcome Kitchen & Cinema, a collective of friends and refugee chefs; Rebecca Briley, the team leader of Flying Seagull’s Channel Your Energy project, a group of entertainers from the UK who travel to bring joy to young refugees; and Baraa Halabieh, the associate producer of Borderline, a satirical theatre show performed by a mix of European and refugee artists in response to their experiences of the Calais Jungle. Buy a ticket for only £3.83.
About the author
Hannah Underwood is a part-time MA student of Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS University. She works with various initiatives that strive to help refugees and asylum seekers, such as the Refugee Welcome to Dinner Series and the Wycombe Refugee Partnership.
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