Last weekend, translator Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and author Nadine Kaadan helped stage the first-ever “Stories and Songs for Syrians” weekend, as featured on Qantara and Book Riot:
The events brought together Syrian and British children (and their parents) for two days of art, music, movement, and storytelling, and also raised money for the Hands Up Foundation, to help keep refugees in camps warm through the winter.
Ahmedzai Kemp said the events went wonderfully, “absolutely fully booked, with a great atmosphere and oodles of creativity.”
They’ve also passed their fundraising goal, with six days remaining for people to get in a donation.
Ahmedzai Kemp said over email:
There was a lovely relaxed family atmosphere and happily Syrian families were able to come from Cheltenham, Stroud, Cirencester and Gloucester, some meeting for the first time, and some kids getting the chance to meet up again with friends they’ve met a couple of times before. Some of the families brought baklava and falafel and on the Saturday one mum brought cat-shaped biscuits and a local cafe supplied a tray of rose and pistachio donuts – amazing!
Kaadan read and workshopped both from her English-language book, The Jasmine Sneeze, as well as from one of her Arabic books, Ghadan.
Ahmedzai Kemp said that “at least 6 parents and teachers came and asked me when the English translation of Ghadan/Tomorrow is coming out. There’s so much interest in it and some people bought it even though they can’t read Arabic, so that they can look at the pictures with their kids and retell the story from memory!”
You can still contribute at the crowdfunding site.