Embracing Empathy: Inspiring Compassion Through the Art of Storytelling – Refugee Week 2023

Refugee Week quote

This year’s Refugee Week focuses on compassion. In Brighton and Hove, we are lucky to be part of a community that actively supports refugee and asylum seeker rights and values and celebrates their unique contributions.

Earlier this year, two Brighton-based organisations we deeply admire, Conversation Over Borders and Refugee Radio, collaborated on a joint project platforming the voices of displaced people in our communities, creating an impactful documentary ‘Prisoner of Hope’ and a book ‘Refugee Heritage: an oral history of asylum seekers’.

The documentary follows Nima from Iran, Kajoli from Bangladesh, and Paul from Uganda, exploring the challenges they face in their new lives and what they have been forced to leave behind. The book is based on oral-history interviews with refugees and asylum seekers living in Brighton and beyond.

Both the documentary and book offer a valuable chance to immerse oneself in the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, as shared in their own words. Both narratives delve into the deeply challenging realities of war, torture, persecution, and sexual violence. However, amidst these hardships, glimmers of hope shine through, interwoven with stories of remarkable resilience and courage from the individuals who bravely convey their journeys.

These stories play a crucial role in nurturing our understanding, challenging biases, and inspiring action. By devoting time to these significant testimonials and sharing them among ourselves, we can cultivate greater understanding and compassion for those seeking refuge. In doing so, we contribute to the creation of a more inclusive and supportive society that benefits everyone.

You can stream ‘Prisoner of Hope’ for free here and purchase the book here.

The project was supported by The National Lottery Heritage fund and an incredible team of dedicated volunteers.

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