Overland adventure company Dragoman has kindly invited FORS to take part in its talk on imaginative travelling and getting around the world away from the beaten track. Dragoman managing director Charlie Hopkinson will be recounting many fascinating stories from his journeys as well as whetting our appetites with his experiences of the culinary adventures he had along the way.
The evening is part of FramSoc’s calendar of events and will take place at the Fowler Pavilion, Framingham College on Wednesday 27 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 for non-members and are free to members. They are available from Amanda Taylor at AJTaylor@framcollege.co.uk.
FORS will have a stand at the event and will be running a fundraising raffle with an array of excellent prizes.
We report on an enlightening and moving evening with Majid Adin
Thank you to everyone who came to the evening with the wonderful Iranian animator Majid Adin on April 29 and to those of you who couldn’t but very kindly made donations anyway.
Majid spoke movingly about his experiences growing up in Iran during the 1980s and 1990s. He was born in Mashad in the north east of the country in 1982 and can remember the Iran/Iraq war happening in the background as he grew up. But he talked about having had a happy childhood with his father, who was a shoe maker and his mother, brothers and sisters who are still living in Iran.
Majid told us how he had studied fine art and described his love of Persian painting, especially the work of Kamal al-Din Behzad, the 15th century master. He talked a little about some of his works which he showed on screen, reminding us that they were painted at the time that Michelangelo was working in Europe. After he received his BA in fine art he moved to Tehran to study animation.
Majid says he is not a political person, but he adds he is from the middle east and everyone is political there. Majid had a blog and said things about religion in Iran which meant he had to leave his country.
In September 2015, Majid left Iran and traveled through Turkey. He crossed the sea in a rubber boat. The crossing, which would normally have taken an hour, took five because of bad weather which blew the boat off course and made the passage very dangerous – something he captures in his animations – but he arrived in Greece along with the half dozen other people in the boat. From there he made his way through the Balkans and Germany and arrived in the Jungle camp in Calais in November.
He spent a cold winter there, and conditions were hard. But, he said, life was better for people in the camp than it is now, because there was shelter and refugees were given regular meals and could shower once a week. Now conditions are worse because none of these things are available to the thousands of refugees in Northern France. Majid can imagine their experiences, as he once left the camp to see what life was like outside, but a week sleeping on the streets of a northern French town, having to beg for food persuaded him that being inside the Jungle was better than being outside it.
In March 2016, Majid made the journey to England. At first he tried to cling to the underside of a truck, but, as he said ‘I am a big person and it was hard to hold on in a small place with the road going underneath at 120 kmh.’ In the end he came across hiding in a fridge in the back of a lorry. He was arrested when he arrived and is now registered as a refugee and lives in north London.
He says of Britain ‘I am very grateful to this country. It has taken me in and I can live here. What can you say? You are grateful.’
Of course, Majid is best known for his short animations, especially Rocket Man the video he made for Elton John’s 1973 song. Majid told us how he entered it into a competition being to make a video for the song, how he came up with the idea – which combines the story of refugees leaving their home to venture into an unknown world with the journey of the rocket man into unknown space – how he had only a week to put together some drawings, how he won the competition, and what it was like to work with Elton John.
He showed the film along with two others – Myela and The Journey – both illustrating the experience refugees being uprooted from their homes and travelling far from the people they love.
Many people in the audience were moved by Majid’s story, but also by his resolve and his determination to see the positive side in any situation and the good in people. ‘You must take any chance you can to make your life better,’ he said.
Everyone showed great generosity and made donations totaling £375 to FORS on the evening and there are more pledges coming in. We are very grateful to you all
Majid Adin’s beautiful animation for Nick Mulvey’s Myela
Rocketman and The Journey Begins
When: 29th April at 6.00pm
Where: Abbey Hall, Abbey School, Woodbridge, IP12 1DS
Tickets: On the door £10 per person, under 18 free. Ticket includes a glass of wine and nibbles
Animator Majid Adin fled his home in Iran after he criticised the Government there and challenged the islamic state’s religious conservatism. In 2015 he began a journey that ended in the UK, where he lives now. He made the treacherous voyage by boat to Greece, travelled on through Serbia and across Western Europe to Calais, where he spent a winter in the Jungle camp. He made several attempts to reach the UK clinging the underside of trucks and eventually succeeded by locking himself in a fridge which was being transported across the channel from the camps in France.
The story of his animated short film is no less remarkable than his journey. Majid was encouraged by two writers he met in the Jungle to enter a worldwide competition run by Sir Elton John to make a video for his 1972 hit Rocketman. Without knowing who Elton John was, he made film in which his own experience of being separated from his family and his home land, crossing a stormy sea in a flimsy rubber boat and holding onto the axles of trucks intersects with the journey into space of the rocket man. His film won the competition and was shown at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. As well as Rocketman he has made The Journey, the story of a young refugee boy trying to find his parents.
FORS is very grateful to Majid for coming to the screening on April 29 to talk about his life and experiences and the making of his films.
Newsletter December 2017
Dear FORS Supporters ,
It has been just over a year since a group of Suffolk friends got together to gather aid and raise funds for refugees living in the Jungle camp in Calais . Much has changed ; the camp has been levelled , the refugees have been dispersed , with many now living in appalling conditions in woodland or on pavements . Your generosity has continued and we wanted to say thank you to you all for your ongoing support .
We launched in June 2016 with a simple email asking for funds towards a caravan which we planned to tow to the Jungle to provide shelter for a family . The response was so incredible that we ended up with two caravans , kitted out with bedding, cooking utensils , wood burning stoves , toiletries and food . A few of us , teenagers included , delivered all of this in August with the help of Jungle Canopy . FORS also got to know other grass root charities – Jungle Books , The Women and Chldren’s Bus , Kitchen For Calais and Ecole du Darfor , as well as meeting volunteers at L’Auberge warehouse .
After the camp closure we were concerned that interest in the fate of refugees would fall away and the generous donations decline. We were wrong.
In November 2016 more than 70 people came to Rendham Village Hall to our Curry For Calais , where delicious Indian food was served and Tony Britten from Jungle Canopy gave a powerful talk . If the camp closes , he said , please don’t stop giving , and you haven’t . Your generosity that evening convinced us it was worth continuing with our fund raising efforts .
Swish sales and a coffee morning were very well attended and raised significant amounts of cash at a time of year when clothing , boots and sleeping bags were urgently needed.
In February FORS held a Supper For Syria at Brandeston Village Hall . Ammar and Abdul , two Syrian Master Bakers resettled in Ipswich ,provided delicious pastries . We learnt about Suffolk Refugee Support’s incredible work helping displaced people rebuild their lives locally.
A month later a donation of brand new publications went to the Essex Book Fair to raise funds and where A L Kennedy and Lucy Popescu spoke about the refugee crisis .
In June over 50 of you came to see the Queens Of Syria film and to hear Ella Kiley’s insightful talk about the cast of incredible women she met during rehearsals of the original play.
Just last month around 40 of us gathered in Orford for a sponsored Walk For Walking Boots which raised money for footwear. Thank you for bringing boots and new socks along!
In total FORS has raised £12, 869.69! We distribute funds immediately they come in and have a ‘no expenses” policy . Any running costs are covered by the committee . We divide money and aid between local needs , guided by our friends at Suffolk Refugee Support , and the need of refugees sleeping rough in Calais , Paris and Dunkirk.
We want to say thank you to each and every one of you , without whom none of this work would be possible . You are too numerous to mention by name , but we would just like to give a shout out to our youngest supporter Freddie Cole , aged 10 , who has been baking his fabulous cakes throughout the year and giving all proceeds to FORS . Thank you Freddie !
X Deborah, Sharon, Fraser , Alison, Danielle and Oliver
WHERE YOUR MONEY AND AID HAVE GONE
Solidharite Tea Van
Paris Refugee Ground Support
Help Refugees #boots
Care 4 Calais – 200 Care Packs and 3 van loads of clothing and bedding
Ipswich (in association with Suffolk Refugee Support)-
Syrian Falafel – start up business
Cosmetics and Sanitary products