‘Be a voice to the voiceless’

Sudanese doctor and poet Noon Salah Eldin shares the inspiration behind her work 


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Poetry has been a big part of my life for a long time. What initially started as hobby by writing poetry in Arabic when I was 13 has culminated in something bigger than myself.  

Despite arriving in the UK six years ago to train in pediatrics and child health, poetry has remained central to my life.  

After arriving in the UK I started reading poetry in English and in 2018, while pregnant with my daughter, I wrote my first poem in English ‘Dear Inner Child’ which explores personal issues from my childhood.  

During my maternity leave my friend, singer and song writer Rebecca Dunn, hosted an open mic event in celebration of International Women’s Day in Aberdeen, Scotland. I decided to perform my poetry for the first time. Since then, I’ve attended this event and have been involved in many other spoken word events for the last few years in Aberdeen.

Poet Noon Salah Eldin performing.

My poetry explores multiple different themes, from mental health, personal issues and experiences, sexual abuse and the refugee crisis – causes close to my heart.

My poem entitled ‘Daughter to the Nile’ focuses on the refugee crisis, highlighting one individual in particular. The poem discusses the experience of someone who was a Sudanese refugee and fled across the Mediterranean Sea but unfortunately passed away in a hotel in Glasgow. My poetry will always have this raw element.  

When I was 25 my grandad passed away, and the last thing he said to me was, “Be a voice to the voiceless” – something that really resonated with me. My poetry is a gift, and if I cannot contribute in any other way my poetic voice will act as my contribution. 

Working together with the artist Helen Love, we made a short film based on my ‘Daughter to the Nile’ poem, including a performance by the river Dee in Aberdeenshire. 


I love Sudan where I come from, but there are lots of negative things that I would like to change – especially when it comes to women’s rights.  

Since the Sudanese peaceful protests in 2018 I have used my voice. My daughter was strapped to my chest when I went out protesting and saying my poetry in the UK. 

Another big theme throughout my poems is the theme of home. The security you find in the UK is something that we strive for in Sudan – we have been going through a peaceful revolution and my family still lives there. I am often torn between two places. This poem discusses the tension between two places.  

I am a very homely person – I try to create a little environment of what home means to me. Whether it’s bringing things which remind me of home in Sudan; hibiscus, my mum’s traditional garments ‘thoub’ etc. But to me, home is a feeling – it’s safety and security, it’s finding food on the table, it’s a nice warm blanket and education for my daughter – and not worrying about tomorrow. Home is the small things that people often take for granted.

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