1856. Salma Zulfiqar
Salma Zulfiqar, from Solihull, is an international artist and human rights activist who founded ‘ARTconnects’, a workshop-based project empowering refugee women through art classes specially designed to help them with emotional wellbeing and forging connections with other people.
Salma has worked all over the world with the United Nations raising awareness of humanitarian issues in conflict and developing countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Somalia, Chad and Kenya, with a particular focus towards refugee and migrant women. She created the ‘ARTconnects’ workshops in 2017 as a means of promoting greater social cohesion and integration for refugee women, providing a space in which they could come together, learn creative skills, improve knowledge of human rights and experience better mental health while combatting isolation. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, Salma moved the project online, and is now attracting participants not only from across the UK, but in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Europe and the USA.
In a personal letter to Salma, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“You have used your skills as an artist to build a creative community supporting vulnerable people including refugees and vulnerable women. Your workshops are a space where people can rebuild their lives, forge connections and friendships, all while using creative arts to promote wellbeing.”
“I am honoured and humbled to receive this award from the Prime Minister.
“I am humbled to serve the refugee and migrant women I work with who show immense courage and strength and hope to continue giving them the best opportunities in life through creative learning in ARTconnects.”