The ‘I am here’ campaign aims to inspire women to follow their dreams and leave their mark.
Former Salford student, Lina Al-Aghbar is passionate to tell stories of: “ordinary women who have become leaders, rebels, artists, and idealists.”
Women of Salford are encouraged to get involved with the campaign and can do so through Facebook.
The project was prompted by her own experiences when she left her hometown in Syria. She said: “I had this feeling of being a vulnerable person. You know when you walk on the street and feeling like everyone’s staring at you. That feeling where you are new to the country, you don’t know anything. So, I had a feeling of weakness, and I didn’t like that.”
The project is all about “positive vibes,” says Lina. She wants to encourage women to achieve their dreams and leave their mark, adding: “whatever the circumstances, to just go on and follow their passion.”
Lina is keen to change the “lack of representation” migrant and refugee women have in the media. She says: “It all focuses on the negative things that happen around the world.
“Whenever there is something bad happening (in the media), it’s usually shown as someone who would be a migrant or a Muslim.
“If the viewer is not well educated, they would think that refugees and migrants are not good people and think that they are not trying to improve themselves.
“I would say the negative things get more attention in the media.”
Lina speaks about her negative experiences whilst living in Syria, and how she has gained back her confidence despite what has happened in the past.
She says: “This experience has shaped me into who I am today. It gave me more confidence. At first, I felt scared, I didn’t want to go and walk on the street on my own. I was devastated. I didn’t want to complete my studies or meet new people.
“Day by day I gained back my confidence. I learned to put everything I went through behind me. If I just kept thinking about everything that happened to me in my hometown, I would just stay in my room in my bed.”
Lina’s previous projects include the viral video ‘Love over fear from Manchester’ to show support after the 2015 terrorist attacks in France. The video was shared by Manchester Evening News.
Lina hopes to develop the project in the future by making it global. She said: “I’ve got many friends in Europe and other countries. I want to open up the project to other people and get more ideas and concepts.”
Watch ‘I am here’:
You can learn more about the ‘I am here’ project on Facebook.