A MUSIC charity staged a series of special concerts to mark an international celebration of the strength and courage of those who have fled their homeland.

Roman River, based in Colchester, commemorated World Refugee Day on Monday by hosting a mini performance at Iceni Academy and Braiswick Primary School.

The shows were designed to build upon the children’s knowledge of seeking safety and to stress the importance of encouraging kindness to others.

Throughout the events stories were also shared of people who have been forced to come to the UK in order to find a safe haven from their own country.

Rahaf Akram fled Syria before her son, who was just seven at the time and couldn’t speak English, joined a primary school in Colchester.

During her talk she spoke about how she lost her identity in becoming a refugee but overcome her challenges in order to achieve her dream of being of lawyer.

She added: “Within 24 hours I found myself in a different country and being called a refugee – I was just a number and it was the biggest ordeal of my life.

“The choice was mine to fight or to give up but I didn’t let it break me - I challenged myself to override difficulties, barriers and to get my identity back.”

Elizabeth Long, director of Refugee Action Colchester, also attended the shows and used her platform to detail the importance of World Refugee Day.

She also held pupils’ attention with an account of a journey of escape from a war-torn country before Syrian refugee and professional musician Kasai performed.

Harwich-based Syrian musician Qusai Aljaramani also treated primary school children to short recitals on the middle eastern instrument the Oud.

“Pupils were very positive about what they heard,” added Elizabeth.

“The assemblies were a wonderful way to help them make connections between the historical migration they’ve been learning about and the real people in front of them.”

The educational events were organised by charity Roman River, which is run by artistic director Orlando Jopling and producer Charlotte Bazgaou.

“Music has always played a very important role in bringing people together and an informative and inspiring morning was had by all,” said Charlotte.

“We celebrated the strength of people who have been forced to flee their country to escape war, persecution or environmental degradation due to the climate crisis.”