Published On: Mon, Jun 16th, 2014 on 5:33 pm

It speaks a thousand words: Huge canvas unveiled for Refugee Week

Bradford Refugee Week Canvas

(l-r) Horton Grange pupils Rose, Muskaan, Huzaifah and Erika celebrate as their school receives the School of Sanctuary award

A four-metre canvas that was finished with the combined efforts of youngsters in Bradford and Syria has been unveiled as part of World Refugee Week.

Shown to the public for the first time today in the city’s celebration at Kala Sangam, the canvas paid recognition to the contribution of refugees in the UK and the plight of refugees overseas.

The canvas was made up of 1,000 drawings created by local children and young refugees from Syria, who were visited in Jordan by relief workers from the Bradford-based charity Human Relief Foundation (HRF).

At Horton Grange Primary School, schoolchildren from various schools drew houses and loved ones, which contrasted with some of the ones Syrian children drew that showed images of violence.

All these drawings were then stitched by a Bradford-based sewing school named Sewing Bradford, whose volunteers had to race against time to stitch everything together before the official unveiling.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Mike Gibbons, was invited to unveil the finished four-metre canvas along with local schoolchildren, shortly after refugees talked about their experiences.

One woman named Sithembile fled to the UK from Zimbabwe amidst the political struggles that saw countless people killed in a series of conflicts.

She recounted: “I had a family in Zimbabwe, they took and killed my husband and my son ran away. My brother sold the car for a ticket and I came to the UK. In 2010, I was given refugee status.

“By the end of the year I will be studying nursing at university and I will be helping again. My husband and son are gone but I have the strength to go on.”

One 13-year-old named Fatuma came to the UK as a refugee from Somalia last October, and now studies at Grange Technology College.

She said: “Me and family were living in a camp for two years. They didn’t have money, clean clothes and there was no school. It’s been seven months now I have been here and now I go to a nice school and there is clean water.”

Horton Grange Primary School has today, become the first school in Bradford to be awarded the School of Sanctuary award by the City of Sanctuary movement for its work around welcome and inclusion.

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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