Birmingham celebrates Refugee Week with virtual festival

Published: Monday, 15th June 2020

Birmingham’s refugee community and their contributions to city life are to be celebrated with an online festival taking place during Refugee Week, which begins today (15 June).

As a City of Sanctuary, Birmingham offers a warm welcome to those who seek to make their home here – including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, many fleeing persecution or war.

Birmingham City Council planned to host a celebration of refugees’ contribution to employment – but with events cancelled due to Covid-19, it was turned into a short film capturing the speakers’ own experiences.

The film, entitled Birmingham Celebrates Refugee Week stars seven inspiring people from countries including Cameroon, Iran and Syria, who sought refuge in Birmingham, who talk about what they are doing, their ambitions and what they love most about the city, in the five-minute video, which forms part of Birmingham’s Refugee Week online programme.

Councillor John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “As a City of Sanctuary Birmingham offers a warm welcome to all, so we are proud supporters of Refugee Week, which celebrates their contribution to communities.

“This film shows how much experience refugees and asylum seekers bring to our city, which is why we continue to support the Lift The Ban campaign, calling for people in the asylum process to be given the right to work. So many have wanted to put their skills and experience to use in frontline services during the pandemic.

“I want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in making this film during lockdown at the height of the Covid-19 crisis – it’s truly inspiring.”

The council’s Refugee and Migration Team provides a variety of services that support resettlement, training, education, and volunteering – with the aim of unlocking experience, skills and potential to enable people to become active citizens in the city.

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