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28 October 2014

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June 2003
Celebrating Sanctuary
Girl with face painted
Having fun in Victoria Square
Celebrating Sanctuary: A musical feast in Victoria Square celebrating refugees from all over the world who have made Birmingham their home and sanctuary.
audio Sudan: Listen Nada's story

audio Iraq:Listen to Arian's story

audio Ben Okafor: Listen to the musician and former Nigerian child soldier

audio Listen to Star Band from Somalia

audio Listen to Grace of God from the Congo

audio Listen to Ben Okafor from Nigeria

audio Listen to Momo from Morocco

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From Afghanistan to Birmingham

Refugee camp comes to Birmingham

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Celebrating Sanctuary

The Refugee Council
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Jewish people were Birmingham's first refugees escaping escaping religious persecution in Europe in the eighteenth century.

Alec Issigonis was Birmingham's best known car designer, creating the Morris Minor, the Mini and the Austin 1100. He was also a refugee from Turkey.

Birmingham has been home to a Polish community since World War II. In 1939, Germany and Communist Russia partitioned Poland and refugees came to England to fight alongside armed forces.
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Thousands of people from all over the world have been partying hard in Birmingham this weekend during the 'Celebrating Sanctuary' free open air festival in Victoria Square as part of Refugee Week.

Celebrating Sanctuary
Celebrating Sanctuary

"Everybody loves music," says Celebrating Sanctuary co-ordinator Howard Saunders. "And this year people will have the chance to enjoy top bands from around the globe."

Celebrating Sanctuary offers people the chance to enjoy the different cultures refugees bring to Birmingham and helps people understand why people are forced to flee their countries.

Stars who took to the stage on Saturday (June 14) included African Ben Okafor, once a child soldier, who brings together a blend of folk, reggae, ska and a little jazz.


Also on stage were MoMo playing club music created from Moroccan sounds and who have appeared in front of worldwide audiences such as the 30,000 people who saw in the New Year in Genova.

Oi-Va-Voi, nominated for a Radio 3 BBC World Music Award, are also in the line up and offers a new sound in dance music through exploring traditional Eastern Europe and the Jewish music.

Were you at Celebrating Sanctuary in Victoria Square? Take a look at our picture galleries and see if we spotted YOU!

Bosnian Children's Choir Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Somali singer Nimo from Star Band Gallery 3
Smiling at Celebrating Sanctuary Gallery 4
Abdul's eyes Abdul's story: From Afghanistan to Birmingham
Islamic Relief food for refugee camps Refugee Life: A mock refugee camp is set up in Birmingham.
Nada Kaballo Nada's story: Her father was a refugee from Sudan. Listen audio
Arian Taugozi Arian's story audio: A Kurdish refugee he now works for the Refugee Council.
Ben Okafor Ben Okafor audio: Musician and former Nigerian child soldier.

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