To mark World Refugee Day, UNHCR passed the mic to four participants of the Refugee Speakers Programme and to a Burundian refugee and aspiring journalist in Kakuma camp in Kenya.
The participants of the Refugee Speakers Programme. ©Farhasaad Shahid
With now more than 100 million people forced to flee around the globe, this means more than 100 million personal stories.
On World Refugee Day, UNHCR’s Representation for the Nordic and Baltic countries gave the stage and passed the mic to five young refugees for their stories to be heard. In a fully packed venue in central Stockholm, the audience listened to the strong, moving, and very personal stories of being forced to flee and starting over in a new country as well as an account of daily life in a refugee camp in Kenya.
One by one, the young refugee speakers Widad, Faiaz, Elnaz and Raul took the stage and shared the stories that they had developed since the beginning of the year as part of the Refugee Speakers Programme. In this programme, established by UNHCR in collaboration with TEDxStockholm, the speakers have taken part in a series of workshops and one-to-one coaching to develop their storytelling skills.
Building on the knowledge and skills gained during the programme, the speakers shared stories about growing up in Afghanistan, being forced to flee Iran, re-building one’s life in Sweden and receiving a critical medical diagnosis while navigating asylum procedures.
During the course of the evening, UNHCR also passed the mic virtually to Michael, a young Burundian refugee and aspiring journalist, living in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
“Kakuma loves you!” he started, with a bright smile, and went on to explain how Kakuma is home to refugees from many different countries and that life in the camp can be challenging, not least due to lack of livelihood opportunities. As an aspiring journalist, Michael is involved in UNHCR’s Global Journalism Mentorship Programme and hopes to one day study journalism at university.
The event was generously hosted by Norrsken House in Stockholm on World Refugee Day – a day marked globally every year on 20 June to celebrate the strength and courage of refugees, create awareness of the plight of people forced to flee, and advocate for refugees’ right to safety.
Widad, participant of the Refugee Speakers Programme
Faiaz, participant of the Refugee Speakers Programme
Elnaz, participant of the Refugee Speakers Programme
Raul, participant of the Refugee Speakers Programme
Audience at Norrsken House during UNHCR's Pass the Mic event
Michael, Burundian refugee and aspiring journalist in Kakuma camp in Kenya.