The WAST choir is very proud to have received the Liberty Human Rights Arts award last night at the wonderful Liberty Awards ceremony with so many other inspiring individuals and organizations. This award is for all our WAST choir members and all the (over 150) members of WAST but in particular a tribute to Farhat Kharn who is our founder member, and to Lydia Besong who couldn’t come with us but has been leading the choir rehearsals over the past month and as many of supporters know is our amazing chair woman.
We were honoured and so encouraged to have met and spoken with Shami Chakrabarti before and after the ceremony and we join her in the Liberty campaign to Save our Human Rights Act. We were so happy as well that Detention Action were winners of the Campaign of the Year Award.
Below is our choir leader Mavis Tshuma’s speech on the night:
“WAST Nightingales are so very happy to receive the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award.
This make us feel that our voices are being heard and that our struggle is being recognised.
As women asylum seekers we are fighting for for our basic Human Rights to safety and freedom and for justice.
This is a long traumatic, painful and often lonely journey but we have to stay strong.
We survive with dignity and respect by supporting each other together in WAST, and through the support of so many individuals and organizations in Manchester and across the UK.
The choir has helped us reach out to many different communities, raising awareness and understanding of our situation, at a time when there is so much bad feeling against asylum seekers and scapegoating in the media.
The choir also brings us all together and helps us cope with the stress and isolation we face. It makes us stronger and more confident and we feel happy when we sing.
We are very honoured and encouraged by he public recognition that Liberty has importantly given us, as the winners of this award… thank you so much on behalf of the WAST Nightingales and on behalf of all our WAST members.”