Introducing our Refugee Festival Scotland Ambassadors for 2024.

Our Refugee Festival Scotland Ambassadors are spokespeople for the Festival. The group have attended a series of media skills and photography workshops, and are ready to share their experience to help build understanding about what it means to be a refugee in Scotland today.

With thanks to Open Aye, Ibrahim Kamara, Sadia Sikander, Comfort Anjorin and STV News for your support in facilitating these workshops.

If you are interested in connecting with the Ambassadors, please contact our Storytelling Officer.

Meet Elina.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Elina is from Ukraine, and now lives in Greenock with her cats. She is working to rebuild her career as a journalist, is learning Gaelic and volunteering in her local community.

As an Ambassador, she wants to share her experience to help motivate others and show that refugees are an asset to the UK, bringing their skills to a new country. The theme of RISE relates to her experience in the UK, starting a new life and hoping to rise to the top.

Elina is helping to organise a Festival event in Greenock bringing together all of the different communities in the area – everyone is invited!

She hopes to live a safe, happy life in the UK – and become fluent in Gaelic!

Meet Fatma.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Fatma is from Egypt, now living in Glasgow.

As an activist, she has worked with many refugees and asylum seekers and knows the challenges that everyone goes through, but she also knows the resilience that people have. As an Ambassador, she wants to motive people to keep going – life has a lot of upsides and downsides, but you have to take any struggle as an opportunity to keep rising.

She works for Maryhill Integration Network, and invites everyone along to their event on Monday 17th June from 5.30pm! 

In the future, she hopes to gain her Masters degree and will keep fighting for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. She hopes that everyone, no matter where they are from, feels welcome in their new community.

Meet Hanna.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Hanna, from Ukraine, has been living in Dundee for around 2 years.

She wants to be an Ambassador because she can bring her lived and professional experience to help empower others to thrive in Scotland. It is also important to raise awareness of the Festival and what it means, and celebrate with people from different backgrounds and experiences.

She runs a project called Ukrainians Together along with her husband. During the Festival, they will be holding an event near the Scottish Borders. The event will be a cultural exchange between local and Ukrainian communities, celebrating unity and diversity through workshops and food.

In future, Hanna hopes to extend their project to help empower and motivate as many people as possible!

Meet Seyar.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Seyar, from Afghanistan, has been living in Scotland for just 4 months. He is currently living in Greenock with his family.

He wants to be an Ambassador because it’s a brilliant opportunity to learn more about different cultures, meet new people and integrate more in his new home. He is looking forward to being part of such a diverse and inclusive Festival.

He is planning to pursue further education in Scotland and, of course, is seeking long-term stability in the UK for himself and his family.

Meet Lizelda.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Lizelda is from Namibia, and now lives in Glasgow with her baby boy.

She wants to be an Ambassador to enlighten and encourage and uplift other refugees. Her message is that we are all here for one reason, and that is to RISE – keep going and things will get better.

In the future, she hopes to open her own restaurant serving Namibian food – and for her son to be a star football player!

Meet Comfort.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Comfort is a filmmaker, community leader and activist from Nigeria, living in Glasgow.

She volunteers with Scottish Refugee Council’s media team and wants to tell the stories of people who have experienced forced displacement but made it against all odds, to inspire other people who are struggling in the asylum system to keep going.

Comfort works for Amma Birth Companions as learning and peer support coordinator and is training to get into politics as a councillor to use her voice to bring change for refugees and people seeking refuge in the UK.

Meet Ishmail.

Image Copyright: Open Aye.

Ishmail is from Sierra Leone, now living in Glasgow.

He is a campaigner for the rights of asylum seekers with Maryhill Integration Network. He would like to use his platform as an Ambassador to speak out about the right to work and free bus travel!

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah