Hackney festival launched to raise money for pop-up libraries in refugee camps

A Hackney-based collective has launched a film, arts and music festival to raise money for pop-up libraries in refugee camps around the world.

Coinciding with Refugee Week, the Beats Collective Festival will see the capital’s DJs, bands, filmmakers and photographers collaborate in support of education projects for teenagers and adults living in camps.

The festival is in support of the ECHO Mobile Library project – which provides portable education hubs for those awaiting asylum or transportation.

The project is designed to facilitate language learning and equip refugees – some of whom are in limbo for years at a time – with the skills and opportunities to help them find work in their final country of residence.


Echo mobile library

The co-founder of Beats Collective, 21-year-old Asnia Ramdane, launched the group in February after returning from a volunteering stint abroad.

“We all volunteered in camps around the world and then went on to help out with various projects in places like schools,” she told the Standard.


Beats Collective co-founder Asnia Ramdane

“The idea came to us when we realised that, in Greece, there are a lot of education projects focussed on children but not many for teenagers and adults.

“It is totally right that the focus should be on children – they should be the priority – but we want to make sure there is access to education for older people as well.


The libraries will be used in refugee camps (Luca Piercey) 

“And in some camps there is nothing at all. So we thought about this idea of a camp-based library and then we realised that this one already existed so instead we decided to finance them.

“As a collective, we want to support education. But it is also very much about integration and helping these people to get jobs in the places they are eventually resettled.”


Festival: The schedule includes talks, DJs and bands including The Soft and Whippy Jam Band (pictured)

Echo is the first project supported by the Beats Collective and all proceeds of the Hackney Wick festival will be donated to it.

The festival combines performances, exhibitions, food and talks; all raising awareness of the plight of refugees in the global crisis.

Highlights include a Yoga For Kids workshop at midday, Campaign Against Arms Trade workshop at 1.15pm and a Q&A session with the Dunkirk Legal Support Team at 7pm.


Beats Collective fundraiser programme

Beats Collective Festival runs from June 23 to 24 at Stour Pace in Hackney Wick. For more information or to get tickets click here.

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/hackney-festival-launched-to-raise-money-for-popup-libraries-in-refugee-camps-a3572291.html