From political circles to local community centres, everyone has something to say about refugees.
2015 saw the largest mass movement of refugees since World War II, and instead of being met with the empathy and understanding of their fellow humans, refugees and asylum seekers were subjected to dehumanising and damaging stereotypes. Controversial immigration policies sprung up across Europe, with the far right gaining attraction through the portrayal of refugees in a negative light. Media channels across the continent were asking experts, governments and activists to comment on why refugees choose to flee their home countries, and everyone seemed to have a voice, except those being talked about – the people identifying as
It is easy to discuss refugees as an abstract concept, people from a faraway land arriving in their thousands, but people are more than a statistic and there are many reasons they choose to flee. Our names are Hira and Maryam, and we founded Our World Too because we noticed that while refugees are very often spoken about, they are very rarely spoken to – and where their voices are used, it is often for fundraising efforts.
It is often easy to ignore the voices of those who are not represented or are misrepresented by mainstream media. No one is born thinking they would have to flee their homeland to seek safety, but when they do, instead of being afforded the international protection they are entitled to, they are alienated by the media and politics. Refugees do not need us to save them, but they need to be treated with respect, honour and dignity throughout their journeys.
Currently, there are 26 million refugees in the world but hidden behind that number are friends, families, doctors, carpenters, housewives and children with dreams for the future. We strive to treat refugees as more than a label, by providing them with a platform to share their experiences, their hope, and their dreams for the future in a space free of any political agendas.
Our World Too aims to re-humanise the narrative, negate the negative stereotypes and fight ignorance by placing the narratives back where they belong, with the people themselves.