A short film directed by an award winning Birmingham artist has been made that features hundreds of asylum-seeking and refugee women around the world.
The Migration Blanket: Climate Solidarity – released to markInternational Women’s Month 2022 – tells the story How climate change is destroying women’s lives, causing them to marry early, preventing access education, and leading women to be subject to violence.
The film, which runs 25 minutes, features stories from girls and women who fled danger around the globe, including from Sierra Leone to Small Heath.
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Salma ZulfiqarFounder of the ARTConnectsThe film was made by a social enterprise and a migrant activist to give voice to refugee women around world, some in Birmingham.
The film’s illustrations were created in ARTconnectsWorkshops led By Salma.
The artist collected the artwork from her Small Heath home, where they gave mental health advice and women’s right advice.
She spoke out about her first award-winning film, The Migration Blanket. She said that she created the film with refugee and migrants girls and women in Birmingham and around to show how many are suffering silently.
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The project, which was inspired in part by Salma’s mother, Bano, a migrant, was designed to empower the women involved to stand against climate emergencies and highlight how they are disproportionately affecting their lives around the world.
“The film gives vulnerable refugee women and marginalised women a voice, empowers and motivates them with climate change knowledge and encourages them take action as well as improving mental health.”Salma said.
“This film is an appeal to ensure that women’s right are protected as a crucial element in climate action, and any policy making,” she said.
The project highlights women’s shared experience in dealing with climate change.
“I’ve witnessed women in Bangladesh who’ve been widowed, left destitute and can’t fend for themselves due to cyclones caused by climate change,” Salma said.
“Women in Kenya who’ve lost their cattle and farmland destroyed by drought and were forced to move, live rough on wasteland and become vulnerable to violence, including rape.”
Shofika, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar, is one of the young women who shared her story, art, and artwork for the project.
She said: “Our house was completely destroyed and we couldn’t go to school because of the floods.” Climate change destroyed our agricultural land.”
Molika, a Bangladeshi student residing in Birmingham, shares Shofika’s pain of seeing her beloved village destroyed by severe rains and flooding.
She said, “F.”The heavy rains are preventing girls from going to school. Girls face many problems at home when the parents can’t earn money from their land due to drought or heavy rain.
“In Bangladesh, this is happening in the village I came from and it’s making life hard for women,” Molika said.
The ARTConnectsMAC Birmingham provides support for asylum seekers and refugees through workshops. The film is a sequel and was nominated for Best Animated Short at Berlin Independent Film Festival.
Andy Street, Mayor West Midlands, stated: “This is an important film that raises awareness of how urgently we all need to take collective action to address the climate crisis and make a positive impact on the lives of some of our sadly excluded and marginalised women in West Midlands and across the Commonwealth.”
The film will be screened at the Commonwealth Games 2022 as well as during the Venice Biennale from April through November 2022. It will also be shown at other venues across Europe.
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