Women on the frontlines of the climate crisis call for action


Migration coverage: climate solidarity is a sequel to the award-winning film by Salma Zulfiqar In solidarity: Migration coveragewhich won Best Animated Short Film at the Berlin Independent Film Festival last year

“Our house was destroyed and we couldn’t go to school when the floods came. Climate change has destroyed our farmland,” Shofika, Rohingya refugee, Bangladesh.

Shofika is just one of 150 refugee and marginalized young women from Commonwealth countries and the UK, who took part in Migration coverage film project and a woman on the front lines of the climate crisis.

Migration coverage: climate solidarity shows how climate change is destroying women’s lives, causing early marriages, preventing access to education, causing hunger and leading to violence against women.

“People are hungry in Nairobi because of climate change,” said Huda, a student in Kenya.

The film features over 400 handmade works of art by 150 women in 17 countries, which were created in the powerful ARTconnects workshops led by international artist and human rights activist Salma Zulfiqar.

The participating countries are: Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Greece, Jordan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Zambia.

“The film gives voice to vulnerable and marginalized refugee women, empowers them with knowledge about climate change, encourages them to take action and improves their mental health,” said Salma Zulfiqar.

“I didn’t know how climate change affected women and learned that it was keeping girls out of school,” said Molika, a student at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
“We couldn’t go to university because of the storms in the UK and houses were destroyed. But in some countries, this obliges young girls to marry when they are 10 or 12 years old.

Women in camps, orphanages and other temporary accommodation took part in the project throughout 2021 to produce the artwork for the film, which was supported by the UK Arts Council and Birmingham’s Midlands Arts Centre. The project helped them learn more about climate change, inspired them to take action and improve their well-being. ARTconnects collaborated with 17 schools and colleges from local, national and international organizations to create the film.

According to the UN, approximately 80% of those displaced by climate change are women. Women and children are 14 times more likely to die in a natural disaster.
Women own less than 20% of the world’s land, but when they own land, they prosper and reinvest 90% of their income back into their families and communities.

“There is no clean water where I live in Balochistan due to climate change,” Maria said in Pakistan.

“Pollution makes us sick, I cough and I get sick,” said Hadiqa, a refugee in India.

The 25-minute art film also pays tribute to leading climate activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate and takes note of the 2021 Malala report on climate change and girls’ education.

“This is a call to action to ensure that women’s rights are protected as a key part of climate action and all policy-making,” added Salma, whose pioneer migrant mother, Bano – died of Covid in 2021 – inspired her to launch the project. .

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: ‘This is a powerful film that raises awareness of the urgent action we all need to take together to tackle the climate emergency and help make a positive difference. in the lives of some of our sadly isolated and marginalized women in the West Midlands and across the Commonwealth.

Migration coverage – Climate solidarity The film will premiere at the Venice Biennale on April 23, followed by a Q&A with the artist – with further screenings in London, Oxford, Dubai and Italy – and is part of the Commonwealth Games Culture Festival 2022.

Salma Zulfiqar recently received the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award Light Points Award in recognition of her “outstanding service of empowering refugee women through art classes” and was voted one of the most inspirational women from Birmingham in the book, Once Upon a Time in Birmingham – Women Who Dared to Dream. She also received the Rising Star Diversity Award powered by The Sunday Times in 2019.


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