Most people when imagining a refugee wouldn’t envisage the face of Khaiber Rahim staring confidently back at them. But with Khaiber, an ambitious and attractive model, as the face of Refugee Week 2008, just this could soon be happening. Khaiber caught the eye of the fashion industry whilst in his native Afghanistan. Having fled his country because of the Taliban, he is now looking to break into the UK industry.
National Co-ordinator of Refugee Week, Almir Koldzic said:
“In order to start changing the way people perceive refugees we need to change the way they are represented.
“We would like to see more projects and activities portraying refugees not only as victims of extraordinary circumstances but as people who have helped build this country and culture.”
Khaiber is just one example of how refugees are sexy, talented, quirky, sporty and creative. Other captivating stories include a Bangladeshi poet Mir Mahfuz Ali who was shortlisted in the 2007 New Writing Ventures Awards for emerging literary talent in the UK and Iranian heavyweight boxing champion Hamed Sabri Dashti who was selected for the Iranian Olympics team in 2004.
Bangladeshi Poet Mir Mahfuz Ali says
“Now I can write about anything or any subject without fear. Britain provided me with a space for my artistic development”
Celebrating its tenth year, Refugee Week 2008 takes place from 16-22 June and will host hundreds of exciting events up and down the country, encouraging the UK to explore refugee issues, bring together communities and celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK. Refugee Week aims to dispel negative images of refugees and highlights the UK’s long history of welcoming those who seek sanctuary here.
In 2007 there were over 450 events ranging from big festivals to photography exhibitions and political debates to football tournaments, and this year looks to be better than ever. Put it in your diary as Refugee Week 2008 is definitely one to look out for.
Notes to editor:
1. Case studies of many talented refugees are available for further interviews from the Refugee Week team. Contact Carina Crawford on 020 7346 6752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Visit the Refugee Week website www.refugeeweek.org.uk for more event details.