‘Coffee tells a beautiful story of Migration’.
I never thought I would have ever been doing something what I felt was so out of my league. Well, to be more precise, I never imagined myself with a microphone in my hand, speaking to an audience and making them laugh. In early 2018 I joined Counterpoints Arts (an organisation that works to promote and celebrate migrants and refugees and their contribution to the UK through the medium of arts) as a Marketing Intern. The time at Counterpoints Arts was one of the best of my life in UK, partially because I recently got my refugee status and got released from a detention centre after a long time, and partially because of the kind people working at Counterpoints Arts. In the autumn of 2018, Counterpoints Arts decided to start a new project called No Direction Home – Stand-up Comedy. The idea behind this project was to give a platform to refugees, migrants and non-migrants a chance to do stand-up at different events and venues. I was one of those first few; Counterpoints Arts asked me if I was interested in being part of this project as a performer which I accepted initially just to do once.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I and other participants attended workshops organised by Counterpoints Arts to learn the art of stand up. I would like to mention especially our mentor Tom Parry who is himself a very witty comedian and now a good friend. The way he ran those workshops and made the concepts and ideas so easy to grasp really deserved five stars.
While performing at different gigs organised by Counterpoints Arts and getting more into the refugee sector, I was also working on my own social enterprise, HAVEN Coffee, which we registered in February 2019. When I first came to this country, I fell in love with a few things instantly; coffee and café culture was one of them and I wanted to open my own café one day. When I finally had a chance to do something after getting my refugee status, my own hardships and experiences demanded me to work towards the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers in any capacity. I then joined my love for coffee and responsibility into one and HAVEN Coffee emerged.
‘HAVEN Coffee is a social enterprise, where we serve ethically sourced, fair trade, organic cup of specialty coffee with a social mission of breaking the false narratives around refugees in the society with the help of both visual and performing arts. We also provide Barista training to refugees and asylum seekers so that they can be more employable in the society’
Due to my involvement with the comedy project run by Counterpoints Arts, I started the same at HAVEN Coffee with the name of Laff-Uccino where we run workshops to give training to refugees and asylum seekers on how to perform on the stage and then later on they perform at our gig. To keep the balance between the social mission and the sales of the tickets, we always have one or two notable comedians as our headliners. We have worked with some great names, including Suzi Ruffell, Adam Coumas, Alfie Brown, Nabil Abdulrashid, Ed Night, Ahir Shah and Nish Kumar. Started in December of 2019 at 2 Northdown Street and later on moved to 21Soho, we’ve organised six gigs so far. We are running the eventh instalment of our Laff-Uccino during Refugee Week 2023 on 22nd of June with a great line up. The ace line-up includes Adam Coumas, Ed Night, hilariously funny newcomers from refugee and migrant backgrounds, our refugee comedy workshop participants, and a very special headliner, Nish Kumar. There will also be a free raffle on the evening with a chance of winning one or more of ten amazing prizes.
The evening will be full of laughter and comedy with a conscience.
For more info and to book your place, click here.
Note: As a Refugee Week 2023 Celebration, anyone who buys 5 tickets or brings 5 guests to the gig will get a FREE bag of our fair-trade, organic Bag of Coffee. Just email us or WhatsApp (07757750774) with the names of the 5 tickets for the Bag of Coffee.