Hassan Akkad on the power of storytelling in the fight for a free world

Hassan Akkad is a photographer, filmmaker and activist. He came to the UK in 2015 after fleeing Damascus after he was tortured by Assad's regime. He documented his journey in the BAFTA award winning documentary “Exodus: Our Journey to Europe and later caught public attention again when he applied to be a cleaner at his local hospital at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. During his time on the COVID ward, Hassan shared images of his fellow cleaners, porters and cooks on his social media which went viral. Then, when Hassan found out that porters and cleaners working for the NHS would not be protected through the government's NHS bereavement scheme, he was outraged and his campaign to include those people in the scheme directly led to the second notorious government U-turn of 2020. 

Hassan’s memoir “Hope Not Fear: Finding My Way from Refugee to Filmmaker to NHS Hospital Cleaner and Activist” was released in September 2021. It’s a searingly honest and heartbreaking account of his journey and his unparalleled compassion, kindness and advocacy. Hassan shows us that standing together and uniting in kindness and love is the single most important message of our time.


Order Hassan’s book here

Find Hassan on Instagram: @HassanAkkad and twitter @Hassan_Akkad

Find me: @venetialamanna

Find the show: @atstpodcast

Support Choose Love / Help Refugees: helprefugees.org/


This episode was co-produced by Venetia La Manna and Holly Falconer. It was edited by Nada Smiljanic. The music was composed by William Haxworth and the artwork was designed by Alex Sedano.

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