Festival in Dundee helps to promote the impact of refugees on Tayside

© DC ThomsonSair Zazai, chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council, with Marwa Bushnaq and Samar Madalawi
Sair Zazai, chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council, with Marwa Bushnaq and Samar Madalawi

A festival to celebrate the impact refugees have had on the Tayside community has been launched.

The Refugee Festival Scotland uses music, poetry, art and languages to bring to life the stories of the people who have sought safety in the UK.

The festival is produced and co-ordinated by the Scottish Refugee Council which is a charity providing advice and information for people seeking to be a refugee.

In its 19th year, it runs until June 30 and has the theme of Making Art, Making Home.

It offers people from different backgrounds the chance to get to know each other to help to improve relations.

Chris Afuakwah, media officer for the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The festival helps to integrate people into the communities.

“It’s a celebration of refugees and to the contribution that they have made while they have lived in Scotland.”

Local councillors and ministers made speeches at the Steeple Church in Dundee City Centre to help open the event.

Minin Kahtan Abo-Mehdi received kidney dialysis followed by a transplant since arriving in Scotland from Iraq. She is to exhibit work at the Steeple Church.

There is also an art display at the V&A Dundee by Iranian Iman Tajik which shows his refugee documents.

This is located outside the V&A Dundee and it will be in place for three months. The artist is to hold a talk at the museum at 11am on Friday.

An art exhibition has also been placed in the Connections Cafe, on Nethergate, for the duration of the festival.

The cafe will host a free community event entitled A Thousand and One Evening on Friday, June 28 between 7 and 9.30pm too.

The Steeple Church will hold the Refugee Voices event on Sunday between 4 and 5pm with free entry, followed by a vigil from 5.30 to 6.30pm.

A full list of festival events can be found at www.refugeefestivalscotland.co.uk/programme-2019/