With houses and hills set on fire in the UK due to extreme weather, a new film on the effects of climate change calls for better protection of women affected by climate change.
Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands said: “This is a powerful film which raises awareness of the urgent action we all need to take together to tackle the climate emergency and help make a positive difference to the lives of some of our sadly isolated and marginalised women in the West Midlands and right across the Commonwealth.”
“We couldn’t go to college due to the storms in the UK and homes were destroyed a few months ago and now houses are on fire in the UK due to hot weather. I didn’t know how climate change was affecting women and I learned that it’s stopping girls from going to school. And in other countries it’s forcing them to get married when they are 10 or 12 years old,” Molika, a Birmingham college student in the UK.
Molika is one of 150 young refugee and marginalised women from 15 Commonwealth nations and the UK who have participated in The Migration Blanket – Climate Solidarity film project which educated them on climate change.
The film shows how climate change is destroying women’s lives, causing early marriage, preventing access to education, causing hunger, and leading to violence against women and calls for action. Trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1F4q6D56Gog
Claire Birch, Producer for Birmingham 2022 Festival said: “The Migration Blanket is not only a celebration of the talented women across the Commonwealth but a reminder to us all that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing us on the planet and through art and culture we can make positive change in communities. The cultural exchanges through ARTconnects workshops to create this film are a show of strength and solidarity.”
The Migration Blanket – Climate Solidarity film is presented as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival and will be shown at various Festival Sites from 28 July, with a special screening and event at the Victoria Square Festival Site on 4 August at 4.30pm.
The film features over 400 pieces of handmade artwork from 150 women in 17 countries and climate activists, as well as award-winning Artist and Women’s Rights Activist, Salma Zulfiqar’s artwork.
“Our house was destroyed and we couldn’t go to school when the floods came. Climate change destroyed our agricultural land,” Shofika, Rohingya refugee, Bangladesh.
“People are going hungry in Nairobi because of climate change,” Huda, a student in Kenya.
The drawings for the film were created in ARTconnects workshops led by the artist. www.artconnects.co.uk
Participating countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon ,Greece, Jordan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, Zambia.
“The film gives vulnerable refugee and marginalised women a voice, empowers them with knowledge on climate change, encourages them to take action, as well as improving mental health,” Salma Zulfiqar, Artist and Activist. “This film is a call to ensure that women’s rights are protected in climate policy making,” she added.
8 in 10 people displaced by climate change are women.
Women and children are 14 times more likely to die in a natural disaster.
“There is no clean drinking water where I live in Balouchistan because of climate change,” Maria in Pakistan said.
“The pollution is making us sick, I’m coughing and get ill from it,” Hadiqa, Refugee in India explained.
The artwork was created in high impact ARTconnects workshops led by Salma Zulfiqar who hails from Birmingham. The project empowered the female participants and inspired them to take climate action to help save the planet and improve women’s rights. www.artconnects.co.uk
The 25-minute art film also pays tribute to leading climate activists Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, and takes note of the Climate Education emergency.
Women in camps, orphanages and other temporary accommodation in 17 countries globally participated in workshops in 2021 to produce the artwork for the film, supported by the UK Arts Council. The project helped them learn about climate change, inspired them to take action and helped to improve mental health. ARTconnects collaborated with 15 local, national and international organisations, schools and colleges to create the film.
ARTconnects is a multi award winning project and was presented with the UK Prime Ministers Points of Light Award in February 2022 for excellence in service.