A LEEDS teenager hopes to inspire conversations between strangers after creating coffee cup sleeves written in Arabic and English.
Shano Khorshed came up with the idea after her own experiences of moving to the UK and, initially, struggling to communicate with people.
Shano, a student at Elliott Hudson College, teamed up with charity Fixers to design the sleeves which will be used in local coffee shops to build bridges between strangers.
Shano, who arrived in the UK from Iraqi Kurdistan seven years ago, said: “When I first arrived here, I couldn’t speak a word of English. I felt lonely and isolated. Even simple things like going to the shop were hard.
“I’ve since learned how to speak English but I’ll never forget how difficult that time was.
“I hope that any refugees reading the coffee sleeves will feel welcome. “They might even inspire a conversation between people.”
A variety of phrases translated from English to Arabic covers the sleeves, from ‘I am from’ to ‘what is your name’.
Shano, 18, added: “I think there’s a lot of hostility towards immigrants at the moment. But I hope that these coffee sleeves will show people that not everyone thinks like that.
“Hopefully they can help communities in the UK to bond.”
Fixers works with young people aged 16-25 across the UK by providing them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.
The charity has helped more than 18,000 youngsters across the UK to have a voice in their community on issues such as cyber-bullying, self-harm, suicide or transphobia.
For more information or to make a donation to fund more Fixer projects, visit www.fixers.org.uk.