DAIRA – Engage with Hope. Educate with Courage. Resist Fear

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DAIRA – Engage with Hope. Educate with Courage. Resist Fear

65.3 million people were displaced worldwide at the end of the year 2015. According to the UNHCR, this is the largest number of people, ever since the agency came into existence. In one of its recently issued reports; measured against the world’ population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum seeker, internally displaced or a refugee, putting them at a level of risk, which the UN organisation knows no precedent.


So, in increasingly uncertain times, when the word refugee is being equated with terms like ‘job-snatchers’, ‘increased unemployment’, ‘cheap labour’ and even ‘criminals’, fear and xenophobia is guiding government policies while some other countries are being forced to take more of the burden of those fleeing from war and persecution – what role do everyday citizens play? What can communities in more privileged and safe environments, such as those in the UAE, do to change the narrative?


Daira – an Arabic/Urdu word for ‘circle’ is symbolic in this context of how we are all bound together as one community. An effort to create awareness about the refugee situation at large but more so to create a sense of empathy and rally the humans of UAE to step up and take part in this global conversation affecting us all. It is to approach this moment in time with hope and positivity, and find out how each of us can contribute.

An evening of talks with people on the ground as medical professionals and volunteers, film screenings, spoken-word, public art and live music. The event is FREE and open to the general public – https://www.facebook.com/events/907679796044458/


Venue : The Jam Jar – Al Serkal Avenue

Date: July 16, 2016

Time: 7.30 pm onwards

Event Day Program


  • Hadia Aslam, Founder of Health Point Foundation

A young, Pakistani-Afghan GP working in the NHS (UK) puts together a field hospital for refugees in France and Greece after drawing its first set up on a napkin.

  • Cijal Rahim, Aircraft Technician in a local airline in the UAE/Volunteer, HPF

27 year old, Indian expat, Cijal wanted to do something when the refugee crisis reached Europe in 2015 and so flew to France and Greece, where he worked as a volunteer. Later he climbed the base camp of Mount Everest to raise funds for Health Point Foundation.


  • THE BORDER (Dir. Caoimhe Butterfly, Genre: Short Doc)

The Border offers a glimpse of the stories of some of the women, men and children making long and perilous journeys to seek refuge in Europe.

  • THE ABSENTEES (Dir. Tanya Daud, Genre: Short Doc)

The Absentees, is a story of a Rohingya refugee living in exile in the UAE, told through the voice of Raees. A story of identity, discrimination and the yearning for home.


  • Sara Saleh

Sara is an Arab-Australian human rights and refugee advocate, grassroots activist and creative artist. Her belief in the power of storytelling has taken her from a decade-long career working with NGOs like Amnesty International Australia, to performing her poetry locally and internationally, from Sydney and Melbourne, to Dubai and New York. She is also the Co-founder of the Dubai Poetry Slam and co-curator of the hugely popular The Dirty Thirty global online poetry platform.


  • Nouran Al Shalati

Born in one of the world’ oldest civilisations, Syria; Nouran’ work is reflective of her experience during the war and the ongoing reality but stands out because of how she manages to engage outsiders with her work.


  • By local Performing Artists

About Aleph Collective, is a multidisciplinary initiative, with conflict resolution and telling more nuanced narratives of individuals and communities, at its core. Films, literature, sports, and performing arts are amongst the many mediums that it uses to foster these connections. Aleph has curated events locally such as ‘The Power of Words’ at Sikka 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I56_WkpbcUU, while one of its most notable campaigns has been #BAATKARAIN (Let’s Talk) – an attempt to bridge divides between Indians and Pakistanis.

Diara is FREE for public to enter, please come and bring a friend along: https://www.facebook.com/events/907679796044458/