Opening Hearts through Arts

See Life Seekers Aid:

Life Seekers Aid is a charity for asylum seekers and refugees, run by asylum seekers and refugees.

Founded in 2021, Life Seekers Aid is a successor to Camp Residents of Penally—CROP—an organisation established in 2020 by asylum seekers inside Penally Camp in Wales.

CROP worked for the welfare and rights of asylum seekers housed in this military camp during the pandemic, cooperating with local and national charities, legal and medical organisations, and official bodies.

Read more and see the artwork: https://www.lifeseekers.org/


Updated 16 July 2022: Stories of Hope and Home

“Home is where you feel you belong” We all need safe spaces to explore what it means to have, find or create a home … for those forced to flee and trying to build a new life this is perhaps particularly important, but this exploration offers all of us a space to find and share in our common humanity

https://storiesofhopeandhome.blogspot.com/


Updated 27 June 2022: ‘Adopt a Refugee’ – Loraine Masiya Mponela

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QCEA launches the report “Storytelling from the Frontlines”

Quaker Council for European Affairs: Storytelling from the Frontlines

Today, on 10 March 2023, QCEA published its latest report ‘Storytelling from the Frontlines: Forefronting the voices of communities most affected by militarism and the climate crisis’.

Storytelling has been a crucial vehicle to build common narratives, understanding and mutual trust between and within communities throughout the centuries. Stories have the potential to create new meaning, stimulate empathy, build nuanced perspectives by countering misconceptions, and catalyse people’s dreams and aspirations towards concrete community action. Yet despite its potential and documented added-value in the context of peacebuilding efforts, its application in the context of social transformation processes and policymaking remains limited.

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Together with Refugees – show your support

QARN is a signatory to Together With Refugees: please get involved in the Orange Hearts campaign at their your local level.

Updated 14 February 2023: Call for a clear stand from political leaders after attack on Knowsley hotel

180 organisations have signed an open letter to leaders of all parties in response to the attack on Friday 10th February on a hotel in Knowsley where asylum seekers are housed. The letter calls on party leaders to ‘take a clear stand and condemn any further violence against those who come here to find safety’.  

Coordinated by Together With Refugees, you can read the letter and full list of signatories below:


Dear Party Leaders

The scenes of hatred and violence against people seeking asylum on Friday were horrifying.  We stand in solidarity with them and with all those who have come to the UK to find protection.  These awful acts do not represent the people of Knowsley. 

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The other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature

Artwork by George Sfougaras

The other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature is a UK-based literary magazine edited by refugees and immigrants. We exist to serve and celebrate the refugee and immigrant communities worldwide. 

We are proud to be the UK’s first literary magazine of Sanctuary, accredited by City of Sanctuary.

The second print edition has now been released and is also available online. With a forward by Lord Alf Dubs, it is a selection of fiction, poetry and non-fiction works written by those with with first-hand experience of displacement and seeking asylum. You can find out more here

Malka al-Haddad who some may remember from QARN-Woodbrooke conferences is the poetry editor

BOOK LAUNCH: *I Was Not Born A Sad Poet by Loraine Masiya Mponela

FREE EVENT: BOOK LAUNCH: *I Was Not Born A Sad Poet by Loraine Masiya Mponela

Date: 26 November 2022
Time: 12.30-3.30PM
Venue: The Herbert Gallery and Museum,  Coventry.

Link to the book:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BHL4R1JL/
You can also buy a signed copy on the launch day (£7.50)

Book your ticket to attend the launch in Coventry:

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I Was Not Born a Sad Poet

People who have been to QARN and StatusNow4All events will most likely know that one of the StatusNow CoChairs, Loraine Masiya Mponela is an amazing poet who bring to life the experiences of people living without status through her words.

We congratulate Loraine, and welcome the publication of her first book of poetry:

“I Was Not Born a Sad Poet”

You can read more about the book, Loraine, and her poetry on her website here

Fill the Skies with Hope

23 September 2022: Together with Refugees

orange paper aeroplane with message to PM

On Friday 23 September we launched a new campaign to urge the new Prime Minister (PM) to change course on the government’s policy to banish refugees to Rwanda. #FillTheSkiesWithHope runs until 9 November 2022.

The launch was timed for after the announcement of our new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and ahead of the party conferences (Labour, 25 September and Conservative, 2 October) where we will host fringe meetings to engage both main parties on how we treat refugees.

#FillTheSkiesWithHope to stop the flights

Send orange heart-shaped paper planes

Up until 9 November, groups will join others across the country to Fill the Skies with Hope, making and sending orange heart-shaped paper planes, with your messages to the new Prime Minister. In stark contrast to the hostile plans from the government, we want to demonstrate broad support to end the cruel scheme to send refugees to Rwanda.

There’s not much time, so we want to make this as simple and powerful as possible, with different levels of action and timing, depending on your capacity.

The idea

Make origami heart shaped orange plane/s (see video) with a message to the PM and send them via your MP.

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Welsh National Opera: MigrationS

We spread our wings but what are the consequences?

The desire to broaden our horizons is a natural one, but for many, it is a necessity to improve on circumstances. However, the result of doing so often has unintended consequences. 

Through a series of parallel storylines, Welsh National Opera’s new opera explores the highs and lows of migration: from the migration of birds to the sailing of The Mayflower over 400 years ago; from the story of an Afro-Caribbean slave in Bristol to the experience of Indian doctors working in the NHS.

The versatility of the music, composed by British composer Will Todd (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), is unlike anything ever performed at WNO, and adapts to the setting and mood of each narrative, written by six writers from diverse backgrounds.

An expanded WNO Orchestra is joined by a cast of over 100 performers, including WNO Chorus, Renewal Choir Community Chorus, Bollywood ensemble and a children’s chorus. This is an epic drama on a huge scale, an unmissable live experience. #WNOmigrations

https://wno.org.uk/whats-on/migrations-will-todd

Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK

Woodbrooke/QARN event: ‘Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK’ held by zoom on 16 June 2022

Below you will find a video of presentations: the speakers agreed to be recorded and you can see the video of presentations by Mariam Yusuf, Rogelio Braga, and Moses Mbano

Loraine Masiya Mponela’s poem and the transcript, which was written for this event.

and a toolkit which can be downloaded

Changing the Conversation on Asylum
CREDIT: ERFAN ALAEI – THE PAINTING ILLUSTRATES HIS FEARS, HOPES AND CONCERNS. HE HAS EXPERIENCE OF THE UK ASYLUM SYSTEM

This evening event, coming just before Refugee Week, offers a chance to hear from those in the asylum system working to change the conversation on asylum through art, poetry and activism.

Loraine Masiya Mponela pre-recorded her poemThere is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing’ for this event, because she was speaking elsewhere.

You can watch her recording here

There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing


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Would Little Amal go to Rwanda this year?

Quakers in Britain: Fred Ashmore discusses the harshening hostile environment for refugees and asylum seekers and shares what a response rooted in love and justice could look like.

Last year, many British Quakers took part in or witnessed a series of events throughout Britain in which a 3m tall puppet, Little Amal, journeyed from the Syrian border via Dover to Manchester, joining in events and rallies during her journey. Amal symbolised the search for a new life of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers. The events were inspiring and full of hope.

Little Amal’s journey ended in late 2021. Since then, the UK government has passed the Nationality and Borders Act – legislation which changes the potential outcomes for those who come here full of hope. This year, 2022, Amal would be identified as a criminal because she didn’t travel by one of the government’s approved routes. A real life Amal could well be rejected from applying for asylum in the UK and could even be deported to Rwanda under the government’s scheme.

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