We meet poet and storyteller Rabiah ahead of of London Stories: Made By Migrants.
How long have you lived in London?
My parents moved here from Mirpur in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, both when they were quite young. Mum moved here when she was 14 and my dad a little later when he was 24, so I’ve lived in London all of my life.
Why did you want to take part in London Stories: Made By Migrants?
I think it’s so important to highlight individual stories of migrants or from children of migrants because we hear so many negative things about them in the media. What’s great about this project is that it’s moving away from the statistics and the generic stories and the horrible words associated with immigrants. It’s saying here’s the person, here’s their face, here’s their body language when they’re telling their story and here’s, mostly importantly, their actual story. This isn’t fiction.
What do you hope audiences will take away from their experience listening to six stories?
I hope that audiences will be able to feel the human element of these stories. The headlines can say whatever they want but we’re real people with hopes and dreams. We’re just like everyone else.
What has been your favourite part of the project so far?
So far, everyone on the team has been so great with supporting us and answering our questions. Meeting other storytellers as well has been an amazing experience.
Overall I think London Stories is a brilliant initiative, I came to the first version a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I heard so many different stories from so many different kinds of people and the set-up was amazing, just the atmosphere and the ambiance of the building at that time.
Do you have a favourite place in London?
One of my favourite places is close to the Southbank Centre, especially in the summer. The river is there and it’s always full of people enjoying the sun and it’s just beautiful there. I do love East London, too. When I was growing up there I hated it because it was so cramped and so crowded but after I moved away I realised how much character there is. I grew up there and it will always be home.
I love London, it’s a great city. Like everywhere else there’s obviously some disparity but essentially it is a wonderful city and I couldn’t live anywhere else.
> Find out more about London Stories: Made By Migrants, 4-26 November