On 30 July Haringey Welcome launched our latest fundraising campaign, with the world premiere of a specially composed song, Adversity Rhyme. We were very excited to be hosting our first online event.The crowdfunder aims to raise at least £5,000 for The Voice of Domestic Workers (VoDW), a self-organised group of migrant women.

Still from the video for Adversity Rhyme. Silhouetted people stand side by side looking upon a city skyline.
A still from the Adversity Rhyme video.

Over fifty people joined the launch, on Zoom.  In a powerful speech Marissa Begonia, founder of VoDW, set out the issues facing the women the group represents.  In more normal times many are abused and exploited: working excessive hours, sleeping on floors, suffering verbal abuse and sexual assault by employers.  Covid-19, Marissa told us, had made an appalling situation worse.  We heard of women fired without notice at the start of the pandemic, losing income and home at the same time.  Domestic workers have no recourse to public funds, and are at risk of destitution.  The hardship fund that we hope to augment is supporting 80 women, with a small cash allowance and food.  ‘Some employers,’ Marissa told us, ‘object when we bring food for their workers. We say, you could feed them yourselves.’

Voice of Domestic Workers with fellow organisers on International Women's Day
Voice of Domestic workers on International Women’s Day

Lucy Nabijou, HW’s founder and co-ordinator, and now resident singer-songwriter, explained the origin of the song Adversity Rhyme in HW’s former role advocating for Syrian refugees.  With her nephew Kayvon Nabijou, musician and composer, Lucy identified and briefed musicians: lead vocalist Paula Ruessmann, qanun player Sanaa Wahbah, Arabic singers Alia Alzougbi and Sanaa Wahbah, oud player Rachel Beckles Willson and Kayvon himself on piano and clarinet.  The song was arranged, rehearsed and recorded, and the film edited and produced, all during lockdown.         

Adversity Rhyme Cover Art
Adversity Rhyme Cover Art

We were all moved by the song’s bleak narrative and especially by Paula’s starkly beautiful singing.  If you haven’t heard Adversity Rhyme, do watch and listen (and make a donation!) on Crowdfunder.

Already by the end of the evening funds were being pledged on our Crowdfunder page.  We hope you’ll want to donate to VoDW, a group of severely disadvantaged but courageous and determined women.

VoDW link: https://www.thevoiceofdomesticworkers.com/

Crowdfunder link: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/haringeywelcome-covid-19-music-fundraiser

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