Euro 2020 fan zone: Choir and dancers will highlight rights of vulnerable women at Glasgow Green in celebration of World Refugee Day

Refugee Festival Scotland will take over the Euro 2020 fan zone on the afternoon of Sunday, June 20 to offer visual art, dance, talks, workshops and family events to celebrate World Refugee Day.

Colours of Life and Joyous Choir of the Maryhill Integration Network will perform at the Glasgow Green fan zone for World Refugee Day on Sunday, June 20.

The event is open to everyone with an interest in finding out about the wide range of communities to have settled in Scotland.

This year’s festival focuses on helping communities to reconnect and build bonds of friendship after months kept apart by the pandemic.

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Maryhill Integration Network’s (MIN) ‘Joyous Choir’ group and ‘Colours of Life’ dance group will be performing during the day between 12:15pm to 1pm at Glasgow Green

Rema Zeka Sherifi, director of MIN, said the creative performances stand for displaying the rights of people MIN work with and will platform the voices of vulnerable women.

She said: "We have a member of the choir who is a mother in a boxed room, who is in destitution, so this shows that no matter what position you are in, no one can stop you from sharing your song and highlighting those issues.

"We always have a creative and innovative approach to use music to explore new pathways and this is to highlight issues of our service users through song and creative writing and dance.

“It will also celebrate togetherness after Covid. To have that spirit of joy and celebration but also passing on messages of people who we work with who are in asylum protests or are destitute or just people who are stuck in the asylum system, to show what those people bring into a new landscape of a Scottish society.”

Colours of Life and Joyous Choir of the Maryhill Integration Network will perform at the Glasgow Green fan zone for World Refugee Day.

Dances will focus on new Scots’ heritage and will include worldwide dances such as traditional Indian dances, Flamenco, the Albanian kosovo dance and African dance.

Nine members of the choir will also perform their own original songs at Glasgow Green such as Water of Life and Welcome Home which include languages from across the world.

The songs focus on solidarity, friendship, struggle, dream and hope.

Welcome Home was originally written following the protests outside Kenmure Street in Glasgow after two Sikh men faced deportation from the Home office due to their immigration status.

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The dance and choir will continue their celebrations of Refugee Day by preforming at Kelvingrove Art Gallery outside.

"This event is to show that no matter where we come from, no matter our skin colour or religious views – we all have the same heartbeat and we face love, happiness and sadness in the same way and they should have the right to be accepted as members of society with their different knowledge, skills and experiences.” Ms Zeka Sherifi said.

Last week, MIN’s creative writing group launched a new poetry collection called In Our Shoes which explores the power of poetry to communicate lived experiences of refugees.

Quotes such as ‘You have no idea how to tell a toddler there is no milk’ and ‘You have never experienced the horror of war’ will be written on banners which will be displayed at Forth and Clyde Canal as part of the International Glasgow Festival on June 26.

MIN have also been successful in campaigning in areas such as refugees’ right to vote and are currently campaigning for a nationwide right to work for refugees.

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