Refugee picture aims to ‘reshape narrative and counter negative rhetoric’

The image has been released to coincide with International Migrants’ Day on Monday.

Refugee picture aims to ‘reshape narrative and counter negative rhetoric’ PA Media

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi has described the “heartache” of having to flee to the UK from her home in Iran as she took part in a campaign aimed at “rewriting the refugee story”.

She has posed alongside 10 other refugees in an effort to counter what the charity Migrant Help described as negative rhetoric.

The image, to coincide with International Migrants’ Day on Monday, features a DJ from Ethiopia, a graffiti artist and chef from Afghanistan and a budding baker from Ukraine.

The issue of migration, both legal and illegal, continues to be a major Government priority.

The prime minister is still pursuing a controversial agreement to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, despite many charity campaigners and others voicing their opposition.

A letter last week, signed by high-profile names including BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker and Succession star Brian Cox, called for the Rwanda scheme to be scrapped and for political leaders to come up with a “fair new plan for refugees”.

Speaking as part of the new Refugees Reframed campaign, Khorsandi said: “No one chooses to be a refugee”.

Recalling her own experience, she said: “I was a young child and know the aching heartache of exile as well as the practical struggles, as my parents rebuilt our lives while they were displaced and disoriented.”

She said while there was “incredible kindness” from some, there was also “an attitude which often dismissed and derided my parents because their English was not fluent or they did not ‘fit in’”.

“Such things leave an indelible mark on children,” she added.

Being part of the photograph was “a privilege”, she said, referencing the other refugees “who are rebuilding their stolen lives in the face of adversity”.

She added: “Through this image, I hope we can play a part in rewriting the refugee story and building a world that embraces the courage and contributions of all its people who are rebuilding their lives in a new land, and in a new language.”

Madhavi Vadera, chair of the board of trustees at Migrant Help, said she hopes to “reshape the narrative around refugees for a more compassionate and understanding future”.

She said: “As someone who sought asylum in the UK from Uganda as a child, this image is a personal testament to the strength that emerges from adversity.

“At Migrant Help, we believe this photograph serves as a powerful reminder that refugees are not mere statistics but people with dreams, talents, and the resilience to rebuild their stolen lives.”

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