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  • Writer's pictureSarah Taal

Birds Without Sky - Book Launch

No need to duplicate the excellent blog on the launch of Malka Al-Haddads Book Birds without Sky, which was written by Colleen from Great Lincolnshire City of Sanctuary. To quote Colleen:

"On 21st February, more than 60 people gathered in Leicester Central Library for the Leicester Writers Showcase event in partnership with Leicester City Council to launch a new collection of poetry written by Malka Al-Haddad. It was a wonderful and moving event and celebration of the talent and contribution of a local asylum seeker and a collective of volunteers from Birmingham to Lincolnshire who collaboratively brought this publication to fruition. Special thanks were given to Richard Byrt who provided sensitive editing, Kate Mitchell for managing the project and George Sfrougaras for his donation of beautiful illustrations printed in this special collection.


Malka was able to thank all her supporters and provide a very moving context to a range of poems which the audience was privileged to listen to. Hearing Malka talk about her country, her personal journey and the inspiration for her poetry was a joy and delight, despite the horrors that we heard about.

Malka explained the context for writing her first poem “I’m Human”. It was in response to a simple text question asking who are you and where are you from. She paced her small room for hours and her answers were expressed through this powerful poem."

Photos above credited to Ambrose Musiyiwa with thanks.

Rani and I went to support Malka from the Baobab Project, celebrate the book and say our thanks she has included us in her places to fundraise for.

Her story on pacing the room was in response to my text to the Baobab committee and steering group members 'who are you and where are you from', (which was meant to get a few words to summarise our members skills and experience for our website to show to funders/ interested people), made me both sad and inspired.

Sad people are not treated as human, inspired to hear her read 'I'm Human'. Its imperative to listen to the lived experience of Malka and other women who are so succinctly described as 'Birds without Sky'. It reminded me of the importance of arts projects that work therapeutically with asylum seekers and refugees encouraging them to have a voice. How those spoken and written words can raise awareness and educate those who don't know about persecution and sanctuary yet.

We are a small community group, collaborating with others to defend the human rights of persecuted people, often disbelieved and discriminated against. Buying the book will allow us to pay volunteer expenses so those very women can attend management meetings and be represented in their own organisation. We will pay volunteer expenses for advocates to guide supported women to places that offer advice and assistance, when they don't know how to find them. As well as linking people into solicitors and health services. It also covers training travel expenses. Our funding covers a few people, but not everyone who wants to get involved, anything extra is very welcome. We also want to give travel expenses to women attending our drop in when they have nothing, but need help.

Support us, and Leicester City of Sanctuary / Greater Lincolnshire Area of Sanctuary by buying Malka's book on Amazon.

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