A BRADFORD charity will be hosting an ‘educate and inspire’ event this weekend, bringing together people from different communities in the district.
AROUK, an organization that supports the Rohingya community, will host the event at the Delius Arts and Cultural Center as part of the month-long Platforma festival.
Mohammed Amin is the co-founder and international director of AROUK. He moved to Bradford in 2012, after growing up in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
He said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the fantastic Festival Platforma, through Artworks Creative Communities.
“We believe this is an opportunity for people from different cultures and backgrounds to come together and share their support. It also gives us all a chance to learn more about the Rohingya culture.
“The event will allow us to raise awareness of ongoing persecutions around the world, share the success stories of refugees to inspire others and affirm that refugees are also human, and that they can be anything if you allow them to be safe and welcome.
“It will also help people understand the harsh reality that refugees have to overcome – the unimaginable horror and trauma. We also want to remind people not to forget the Rohingya people, who are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
As part of the event, the documentary ‘Je suis Rohingya’ – which follows the journey of Rohingya youth in Canada – will be screened.
Deb Collett, Project Coordinator at Artworks Creative Communities, said: “We are delighted to have obtained the license to broadcast this film. It shows the importance of expressing who you are, individually and collectively.
“We’re also having a raffle with great prizes, but most of all it’s a safe chance for people to come together and show their support.”
The role of young people will also be highlighted, as the screening will be followed by young members of AAROUK who traveled to Cox’s Bazar – a refugee camp in Bangladesh that is home to 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims – sharing their experiences.
They will also explain how the donations will be used to help the children there.
Bradford has been reported to be home to the largest Rohingya community in Europe, with around 600 people, many of whom arrived through the City of Sanctuary program from 2009.
Many of these people still have friends and family trapped in refugee camps, including Amin, whose own parents have been stuck there for decades.
“AROUK is a local community organization, but at the same time, we have a global reach and ambition to give hope to children in camps who are part of a ‘lost generation’ without a meaningful education. It is so important that the Rohingya are not forgotten, ”Amin said.
“For the past decade or so, the Rohingya community here in Bradford has been resilient, vibrant, engaged and outward looking. During Covid-19, we focused on helping and supporting communities with food packages, PPE, vaccine information and education.
“Now we are launching our first major live fundraising event in Bradford, to provide education for children in refugee camps.
“We believe in a safe place where everyone has the same rights and access to basic needs. As an organization, our mission is to help people in need and protect their rights, as well as to build them a better future through education.
“We aim to transform the lives of refugee children through quality education, and to create opportunities for them to be productive and responsible in society.
“We want to raise awareness and raise funds, but also to share what our people and our culture are. We therefore offer our exhibition and also prepare a traditional homemade meal for everyone to enjoy.
“You will be able to donate in cash or online at the event. If you cannot make it the same day, please visit @ AROUK09 or www.thearouk.org to donate.”
Saturday’s event will run from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information, send an email to [email protected]