The Human Impact

Asylum tales: London museum hosts a tour with a twist

What connects a brass medallion to Leonardo da Vinci’s diary, a Japanese sake kettle and an ornate wooden pulpit that once belonged to the Sultan of Qa’itbay?

All are housed in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and all were chosen by Sudanese asylum seeker Marwa Fedail on one of a series of special tours giving new meaning to old treasures.

For an hour, Fedail showed visitors different objects she relates to her life in the spotlight as a daughter of Darfur rebel leader Jibril Ibrahim, and her medical training in the far-flung reaches of Sudan.

The tour, in aid of Refugee Week, was a chance for 26-year-old Fedail to indulge two of her main interests – art and storytelling. “I like history, I like history of art, I like art in general, and I like to tell my story,” she told AlertNet.

“I consider it a symbol of a shelter or a cocoon to hide in,” Fedail said of Phoebe Stannard’s brass medal with an engraving of a person curled up inside.

Invest in women in conflict zones to promote change

Where would you put your money as an investor? A leading campaigner against gender-based violence says there is only one answer – invest it in women in conflict zones.

“Conflict zones have the biggest potential for change,” Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women, told delegates at the Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford last week.

“If I were an investor I’d invest in conflict zones and women who live there,” said Ensler, author of the award-winning play, “The Vagina Monologues.”

    •