Zakhme Dil – A Scarred Heart

On Wednesday 25th June 2008 at the Lord Mayor’s Hospitality Suite in Coventry, Save the Children launches a ground-breaking film entitled ‘Zakhme Dil – A Scarred Heart’ – telling the story of a young unaccompanied refugee in the UK.

Written and directed by Shakila Taranum Maan in collaboration with the young people from The Positive Press Project based in the West Midlands, the film tells the story of Ali, a young unaccompanied refugee from Afghanistan and It portrays images of life both in Afghanistan and UK.

There was once a time of no war, of everyday the sun-rising and children going to school. When fathers and mothers would do their job and sisters and brothers played and learnt about how to be in the world. When beautiful buildings stood proud; ancient, historical, with memories. And fragrances that were Greek, Persian, Chinese, Afghani, unimaginable.”   Extract from Zakhme Dil – A Scarred Heart ©Shakila Taranum Maan 2008

The Positive Press project has been running for the past year with an aim to give young people a voice on issues affecting them and to challenge representations of young refugees through the media. Young people participating in the project are drawn from both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds from Coventry and Birmingham. The project was funded by Comic Relief

The DVD is being officially launched by Save the Children in Coventry and will feature in the “Refugee Week” festival in London.

For further details contact Joanna Turner on 0121 555 888 or email her on

Save The Children, Save the Children West Midlands, Afghanistan, Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Comic Relief, Refugee Week


Save The Children Refugee Project

I conducted a one day workshop for Save The Children Workshop at the Coventry Refugee Centre young people who were refugees from Afghanistan and locals. The project was put together by the Birmingham Save The Children entitled Positive Press which aims to enable young people across three local refugee and non-refugee communities to learn about one another and work together using different media to challenge discrimination and reduce community tension.

Outcomes that relate to media work include:

  • Young people are empowered to speak out about issues that affect them and develop skills that enable them to engage with a variety of audiences using different types of media

  • Increased number of positive media stories about young people and refugees and a reduction in the number of negative or misleading stories in local and regional media

  • Local and regional media reporting adheres to better standards that protect and respect the rights of young people and refugees

Enabling children and young people to speak to the media is a key part of Save the Children’s objective of giving children and young people a voice on issues that affect them.

The workshop was highly successful where ten young people attended, four originally from Coventry and four escaping war from Afghanistan. Although the workshop was on a Sunday, the young people were enthusiastic and waiting to discuss and learn about film and cinema. Discussions using examples of directors they liked ranged from Tarantino to the actor Salman Khan. The young refugee’s from Afghanistan wanted to tell their stories and when the workshop was split into smaller groups to write stories, the refugee stories were both moving and heartbreaking.

Towards the end of the day, the young people clearly recognised the power of media and each were keen to follow it through towards a career or a way of life.