My name is Basma El Doukhi, third generation of stateless Palestinian refugees. I have more than 15 years of humanitarian experience working with and for refugees in the Middle East and the UK. I am also pursuing my PhD in migration studies at the University of Kent.
I was first introduced to the Refugee Week on 2020 when I held two online events at Oxford Brookes to share my professional and personal experiences about working with refugees and also a panel discussion to discuss about refugees and the surrounding narratives about them in the UK and mainly Oxford. I also held the first international event on 2021 Refugee week, where I hosted an online discussion from refugee artists in the camps.
This year I have been leading the university of Kent task force to plan and implement activities about refugees and role of universities to support the access to higher education for displaced communities.
Building on my work connecting the Middle East and the UK I am currently working to set up a new initiative called Roouh, which will bring hand made cultural products (bags, pillows) made by displaced communities from Palestine and Lebanon.
We will create an online shop, selling these products allowing for the development of an income for these artisan refugees in vulnerable situations.
My enterprise is aiming to serve as a bridge between displaced communities and the communities in the UK through the universal language of art.
Through art we can connect with each other regardless of nationality, ethnicity, borders, religion and other aspects of identity. This can foster a greater understanding in the UK of displacement and migration abroad.
I really find the collaboration among different and diverse groups, individuals and organisations to support the cause of refugees is meaningful. I like the collectivity of the actions and efforts to raise awareness about refugees, support their work and initiatives and try to shift narratives by speeding kindness and support. It regains my belief in humanity and that we can be the change if we work hard as a group.
You can find out more about Roouh, and how you can support Basma’s initiative, here.