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Celebrate National Refugee Week at The Forum in Norwich: Reflecting on the legacy of refugees in Norfolk

Norfolk County Council, 16 June 2023 00:00

Norfolk residents are invited to attend a special event at 11am on Friday 23 June at The Forum, celebrating the lives of refugees who have settled in Norfolk over the centuries.

Norfolk County Council's People from Abroad team works with refugees who come to Norfolk, have invited several people to share their life-changing stories as part of National Refugee Week. Among the individuals sharing their stories are Odon and Sifa, who arrived in Norwich in 2010 from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have both set up their own businesses as a tailor and a hairdresser respectively.

Anas, a dentist from Syria, works in a local dental practice and teaches dentistry to university students. Mustafa, originally from Afghanistan, works at a local language school while pursuing an MSc degree at the UEA. Halyna, a talented artist, fled the war in Ukraine and arrived in late 2022, and is now working as an IT Project Manager. Additionally, Mohammad, a clinical psychologist from Afghanistan, fled the Taliban's oppressive regime, leaving his family and dog behind having narrowly escaped a bullet that was intended to silence him.

Mohammad said: "On my shelf at home lies that bullet that just missed me back in August 2021, and which I dug out of the hospital wall before I left Afghanistan. That bullet could have taken my life, but it didn't. It reminds me that there is always hope. However, I would like people to know that the Afghan crisis - especially for LGBTQ+ people - is not over." He now works full time for the NHS and volunteers for several projects to help support, evacuate and resettle refugees from Afghanistan.

The People from Abroad team, in collaboration with Norfolk Museums, the Library Service and Norfolk and Waveney MIND are hosting a special event on Friday 23 June in the Auditorium at The Forum from 11am to 2.30pm where people can learn more about refugees and Norfolk over the centuries with the chance to increase your knowledge, look and artefacts and textiles, listen to music and sample dishes which originate in countries from which refugees have fled. Visitors also have the chance to watch a showing of the 2007 multi-award-winning animation, Persepolis, about an Iranian girl who grows up during the Islamic Revolution, at 1pm in the Auditorium.

Cllr Alison Thomas, Cabinet member for Adult Social Services said: "National Refugee Week is a superb opportunity for residents to learn about Norfolk history as a place where refugees have always been welcomed, and from new arrivals who are rebuilding their lives in our beautiful county at the same time. The event is an opportunity for people to come together, learn from one another, and celebrate the positive impact of people who have found refuge in Norfolk over the years."

Throughout National Refugee Week, visitors will have the opportunity to read a remarkable collection of emotional accounts written by recent settlers, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of refugee residents who have faced unimaginable challenges to be able to live their lives in safety.

National Refugee Week takes place from Monday 19 to Friday 23 June, at The Forum in Norwich.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:45

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