The idea behind this project is to give high school students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds creative tools to tell their stories and express themselves and their experiences – for refugee students this can be an important tool both structuring experience and stories and giving them meaning and, additionally, using a new language to do so. Numerous studies and articles have articulated the benefits of narration, story telling, theater and arts programs in regards to mental health, confidence, self-esteem, and also academic success. Moreover, the therapeutic benefits of the art of storytelling are now widely-recognized as useful tools for working with young refugees who experienced displacement at an early age.
Our aim, through this workshop, is to allow students to address and creatively express their ideas on what being a refugee and moving countries means for them: their challenges, joys, and difficulties. We also expect that the process of working together on projects and sharing their stories will help these young people to form their own communities and networks, an integral part of belonging in any society. Through their work and final performance/exhibition, we hope that they will have a sense of empowerment and of pride in their accomplishments. Finally, we believe that in reaching out to the larger community – parents, audience members, and the public-at-large, they will help foster connections between communities that are often alienated, and those who want to reach out.