Freedom from Torture is an awesome organisation, offering all sorts of practical support for and with survivors of torture. This Saturday a concert by the group Stone Flowers – made up of torture survivors from many countries – is happening at the Imperial War Museum, Salford Quays. At Manchester Climate Monthly we try to keep the non-climate posts to a minimum. You will understand the exception in this case. Hope to see some of you there.
PRESS RELEASE: Imperial War Museum North in Salford Quays is set to host to a moving and inspirational concert on Saturday 21st September 2013 when a group of torture survivors who found sanctuary in the United Kingdom perform as the group Stone Flowers in celebration of International Peace Day.
Stone Flowers is a ground-breaking music group created by Musicians without Borders, an international charity based in Salford that use music to reduce the effects of war trauma, and Freedom from Torture NW, the only organisation working in the North West of England dedicated solely to the treatment of torture survivors.
The group consists of 20 torture survivors from countries including Iran, Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each member brings a different musical tradition to the group with songs performed in Kurdish, Farsi, Kikongo, Lingala, French and English.
The effects of torture on long-term mental well-being are devastating. One group member, Amy, was arrested and tortured in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010 for participating in political demonstrations against the then President. Whilst pregnant in prison, Amy was beaten and raped by the prison commander, before being able to flee the country through the efforts of family members.
Amy began weekly therapy sessions at Freedom from Torture on 21st October 2011, where a medical report concluded she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression, and that these psychological symptoms were the result of having been raped and the feelings of shame Amy felt.
Alongside receiving regular psychological therapy, Amy has been a member of Stone Flowers since 2012. This has seen significant improvements in her mental well-being, including the recovery of her self-confidence and self-respect.
Jude Boyles, Centre Manager at Freedom from Torture NW, said “The Stone Flowers group has had a profound impact on the mental health of our clients – all of whom are traumatised by torture. Freedom from Torture has seen first hand the changes that creating and performing music can have on survivors in the group and we are proud to work in partnership with Musicians without Borders”.
Lis Murphy, Artistic Director of Musicians without Borders, said: “Each member of Stone Flowers has something important to say and the music they have created to express this is incredibly powerful. We are thrilled to present the life affirming experience of a Stone Flowers performance as a part of International Peace Day”.
Stone Flowers will perform twice at Imperial War Museum North on 21st September 2013. The first performance begins at 12pm, immediately following a minute of silence to mark International Peace Day, with a second performance at 3pm. Both performances are free-to-attend.
Stone Flowers is possible through the support of Arts Council England and Lankelly Chase.