Last week the Social Impact Society welcomed Tiara Ataii, the Founder and Executive Director of SolidariTee, the world’s largest student-led charity advocating for long-term change in the political response to the refugee crisis.
Tiara described her ‘spiritual metamorphosis’ occurring when teaching Farsi to refugees in the Calais camp in 2016. This encouraged her to transition her university degree from Music to Arabic and Middle-Eastern Studies. As the daughter of refugees, she describes her British citizenship and the benefits of it as ‘really an accident of fate’.
Visiting asylum seekers in Greece who lived in abandoned buildings with ‘no real pathway to becoming a citizen’ convinced her that the process for asylum seekers, often long and traumatic, was an attempt to ‘criminalise asylum seekers through procedure’. Along with an anti-refugee movement on social media, asylum seekers are therefore ‘ripe for extortion and exploitation’.
Alongside the production of their iconic T-shirts, SolidariTee works to raise awareness and provide accurate information about the injustices faced by asylum seekers and refugees, as well as facilitating grants and legal aid. Each member of SolidariTee is an advocate for student empowerment, calling upon the next generation of decision-makers to stand up for the rights of refugees.
You can find out more about the work of SolidariTee here