I am writing a book of stories retelling the journeys of refugees and asylum seekers based in Leicester. I want to give a voice to those who do not have one, I want to challenge the misconceptions people have about asylum seekers and refugees, and I want to tell the stories that need to be heard. My book will tell the inspiring journeys of people living within our society today, whose stories largely remain untold until now.
15 years of living in Leicester and working in restaurants, as an NHS interpreter and a primary school teacher, has meant that I have met and worked with many asylum seekers and refugees in many different situations. On a personal level, I have been privileged to build up friendships and find out about their personal stories and journeys to the UK, which is where my interest for this project has stemmed from.
The way that asylum seekers and refugees are portrayed and perceived in society is atrocious, often tarnished with the reputation of being spongers and a hindrance to our economy. Several political party agendas use asylum seekers and refugees to call to the racist and xenophobic sentiments of many people in society and hope this will secure them votes in future elections. The common misconception that these people are detrimental to our society for economical and social reasons is used to the advantage of politicians as a tool to incite further lack of apathy and in turn increase political support that discourages attending to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.
I wish to write these stories as an act of resistance against the forces of prejudice and discrimination that asylum seekers and refugees face in our society on a daily basis and as a celebration of the human spirit against adversity.
I am interested in finding out what caused people to leave their country of origin, how they got to the UK, what difficulties that have faced in the UK and how they are dealing with life now. Although I cannot offer any payment for the stories or any proceeds from the sale of the book, should it be published, I am offering people the chance to tell their stories and record an important part of history to be shared with generations to come.
I hope to meet with people volunteering their story to have an in-depth discussion about their journey and then I will write their story. I am willing to fictionalise the identities of the people I am writing about and the places they are from in order to protect people and I will do all the writing myself, there is no expectation for people to write their own story.
I am counting on the generosity and good-will of people that I have so often come across in the refugee and asylum community to volunteer their stories and help me to record an important part of history and tell the stories that people never hear.
If you feel like you might be able to contribute to the book or would like to find out more, please get in touch via my contact page or social media pages. I would love to hear from you. If you are unable to contribute yourself but know someone who might be interested in getting involved, please pass this on!
Be the change that you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Ghandi
Copyright 2018 Cath Maris. All Rights Reserved.