My (Refugee) Life: new short film released for Refugee Week

Looking beyond the numbers and behind closed doors to follow five refugees working and living in the UK

A new documentary is released today for Refugee Week, following the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of five refugees starting a new life in the UK. The film is a collaboration between a refugee cast and crew, Postcard Productions and refugee employment charity, Breaking Barriers. 

The twenty-five-minute film is available to stream for free at

Recent and heavily politicised data, headlines and policies tell little of the people behind the numbers: people navigating a new country, culture and community. The film takes a ‘behind closed doors’ approach as refugees Bahaa, Bahadury, Gulsom, Joel, and Zarith navigate temporary accommodation, employment, love, family and education.

From explaining how it feels to never expect to hug a parent again to seeing a future where it’s safe to be who you are, the film provides a raw and personal insight into the lives of the five. 

The cast worked with a trainee crew of refugees and an award-winning production company, Postcard Productions, to tell their stories; together, they inspire compassion and challenge misconceptions about the lives and ambitions of refugees in the UK.

Matt Powell, chief executive, Breaking Barriers, explains: “At Breaking Barriers, we see first-hand the many challenges refugees face as they strive to find purpose, work and financial stability in the UK. Yet, the public mostly only hears worrying headlines and live political rhetoric. To show the people hidden by the numbers, we collaborated with Postcard Productions and recruited a cast and crew of refugees to go behind closed doors and see the reality of life as a refugee in the UK. 

“The stories in My (Refugee) Life reveal the talents and passions of the cast as they look to build meaningful and fulfilling lives through work, education and community.”

In the film, Gulsom, a human rights lawyer, talks about her rapid escape from Afghanistan when the Taliban took hold. Gulsom arrived in the UK with nothing but the clothes on her back. As Gulsom prepares for her first day as a paralegal in a London-based law firm, she describes the excitement and how she feels, “…hope because I have been through a really dark situation and now I am seeing light and the future.”

Refugees are four times more likely unemployed than UK-born and other migrant groups. My (Refugee Life) shows how individuals want to work and contribute to society and are held back by factors outside their control. Breaking Barriers works with refugees to help them navigate the UK job market, build new skills and find jobs that have meaning and purpose. 

The full film is now available, alongside a behind-the-scenes film which is also available to see how My (Refugee) Life was made. Londoners on foot also have the opportunity to catch a snapshot of the film at Tottenham Court Road’s Outernet until the end of Tuesday (20 June).

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