Press Release - Summer Fayre on 1st July

The press release for the Summer Fayre went out today. Find below a copy.

Celebrating refugees in Islington Green with music and food from around the world

The Islington and Hackney Amnesty Group is organising a Summer Fayre celebrating refugees on Islington Green this Saturday with live music, speakers and food from around the world.

When: 12-5 1 July 2017

Where: Islington Green

The Islington Refugee Choir will open the event, followed by various live musicians and refugee speakers from Syria, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The Islington and Hackney Amnesty Group has organised the Fayre to raise awareness about the refugee crisis and the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK.

Michelline Safi Ngongo, a Labour Councillor in Islington and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo,  is a key speaker at the event. 

She said: 

“As a former refugee myself I understand how difficult it is for people who are forced from their homes with nowhere to go to and no one to turn to. That's why events like this are important - to draw attention to the crisis. As an Islington Councillor I am proud of our record welcoming refugees and of the contribution refugees have made to our borough and to the the UK as a whole. And I'm delighted to be involved in this celebration of their contribution.”

Another key speaker is Amnesty International’s new Refugee Campaigner, Ghias Aljundi, a British citizen and former Syrian refugee. He said:

“With more than 22 million people forced to flee their home country, the world refugee crisis is one of the defining issues of our times.

"Unfortunately, the UK government is not taking its fair share of responsibility, playing host to less than one per cent of the world's refugees. And meanwhile, desperate families are forced to take dangerous journeys or into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers.”

Ghias came to the UK from Syria in 1999 after enduring four years in prison and torture because of his journalism and human rights work. He had no idea then how bad the situation would become.

He started to volunteer in Greece in 2015 when so many Syrian families started arriving by boat. And one of those families turned out to be his brother (whose mobile phone business had been shot at) and his heavily pregnant wife.  

Half of the proceeds of the event will go to the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants that support refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom are living in destitution, helping them to integrate into their community and to lead full and meaningful lives.

Katie Commons, head of fundraising and development at the centre said: “We work with men and women who have experienced terrible abuses of their human rights and made tortuous journeys to safety.  It's great that the Islington and Hackney Amnesty International Group have organised this celebration event to welcome refugees and we're delighted to be part of it.”

Comedian Dave Lemon will MC the event hosting the following musicians: Julia Katarina, founder and musician at Music with Refugees and mezzo-soprano, oud player and cellist, folk band “Travelling Irons”, community street band “Band off the Wall”, EJ Kempson, whose family has devoted their lives to helping refugees in Lesvos, male vocalist “Spy from Moscow” (Declan Sheehan) and female vocalist “Franki”. 

Other speakers include: Vanessa Berhe, niece of imprisoned Eritrean journalist - Seyoum Tsehaye; Ammar Alsaker, Syrian refugee and Ishmael Moussa, Eritrean refugee.

Syrian artist Hasan Abdalla will be exhibiting his work and will also be running an art workshop for children, as part of his work for Hikayetna, meaning ‘our story’ in Arabic.

There will also be interactive and virtual reality activities related to refugees, Ethiopian food from Mesi’s Kitchen on the Holloway Road, home-made cakes, face painting, a raffle and a tombola with a refugee twist and campaign action stalls. 


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