Most of us have our first giggle when we are between three and four months old, long before we learn to speak. You could say that laughter is everyone’s first language.

Jokes bring us together, and remind us what we have in common. They also lift our spirits in the dark (the Arabic saying “شر البلية ما يضحك” – shirru-lbaliya ma yudhik – means ‘the worst misfortunes are funny”).

Some jokes have an interesting way of crossing borders and finding their way into new languages, while others don’t translate well at all (sometimes ending up funnier than the joke itself).

Spread a little Refugee Week joy by telling a joke to a friend, neighbour or someone you know who needs cheering up. Share it online using the hashtags #SimpleActs and #TellaJoke, and let’s see how many jokes from different places or languages we can get doing the rounds.

If you have a joke that…

  • Has travelled with you from a different country
  • Only people from your hometown will understand
  • Gets amusingly lost in translation
  • Has cheered you up during a hard time

….or just never fails to make you grin, we want to hear it! (Family-friendly humour only please folks😊).

To help get your comedic juices flowing, here’s No Direction Home, a collective of stand-up comedians from refugee and migrant backgrounds, coordinated by Counterpoints Arts and Camden People Theatre (look out for them in the Refugee Week 2020 programme too):