Asylum Speakers Podcast with Jaz O'Hara: Stories of Migration


36. My journey from Syria to Filmmaker to NHS Hospital Cleaner and Activist, with Hassan Akkad

Season 6, Ep. 1

I’m so excited to introduce you to our guest for this episode... Syrian filmmaker, activist and most recently, author, Hassan Akkad!

Hassan is the very first person I ever heard speak about their experience leaving Syria first hand, and it’s safe to say that it had a huge impact on me. Not only has Hassan shared his incredible story through talks and at events, he actually first became known for filming his journey from Syria to the UK - and his iconic footage was shown on the BBC documentary, Exodus back in 2016 for which he won a BAFTA. Since then, Hassan’s passion and dedication to telling his and other important stories has taken him all over the world, including to his local hospital where he worked as a cleaner during the pandemic.

In September last year, Hassan published his incredible memoir, Hope not Fear. I read it in a couple of days and even though I thought I knew his story, it absolutely blew me away. 

In today’s episode we talk about his journey, his book, how candid he was in it, who he didn’t want to read it and why, and at the end he tells the story of the beautiful reunion he recently had with his family after many years of not being together. 

You can find Hassan's book here

This episode is sponsored by the incredible Love Welcomes (Remember to use the code WWT at checkout for 10% off.)

To support this show and keep us sharing these stories, you can donate here

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41. THE JOURNEY Episode 1: Leaving Home

Season 7, Ep. 1
I’m so happy to be bringing you episode 1 of The Journey - a 6-part podcast series following migration routes from Africa, The Middle East and Ukraine, to northern Europe.In this episode we’re starting from the beginning and exploring why people first embark on their journey.Why do people leave their countries and everything they ever knew behind?What are the push factors?We’ll be hearing from people from all over the world about the circumstances that forced them to first become a refugee.Our journey begins in North Africa, in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, where we spent a week meeting many young people who have fled countries all over Africa, such as Eritrea, South Sudan, Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia and more, and are now living in Egypt. You will hear from Ahmad from Nigeria, Albino from South Sudan and Radhid from Somalia.We then head to Lebanon and hear from ‘M’ who shares a different reason for leaving his country - his sexuality.Next we head to Greece to hear from Mustafa, who runs Velos Youth - a wonderful organisation supporting young asylum seekers in Athens.Finally we hear a short poem from a young Syrian named Mohamed in Istanbul, Turkey.To find out more about the organisations featured in this episode: buy our merch:–Many of the people we spoke to along this journey are being supported by projects funded by Comic Relief. Thanks to donations from the UK public, Comic Relief's Across Borders programme has invested over £7millon in organisations supporting refugees and people seeking asylum along these routes. Find out more about Comic Relief’s work and how to support it at