Since the start of the crisis in Syria, more than 2.3 million children have fled the violence in their home country. They now live in refugee camps across the Middle East and Europe waiting to seek asylum in a country where they can be safe and reclaim their right of being a child.
These children have fled war with nothing but fear and uncertainty. Most live in abject poverty without sufficient food or shelter – but also without access to education, or the ability to connect with the family they left behind, play and share their story.
"Giving Refugees a Voice"
Project Hello World, together with their partners, war artist Arabella Dorman and crowdCaster, will support and encourage children in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East to tell and share their story – and that way, give them a chance to rebuild their identity. Using painting, photography and audio recordings, the project will establish multisensory art programs so the children can share their past, their present and their hopes for the future with the global world.
The children’s art projects will create an enduring testament of their past and present struggle, but also their vision of the future. The mission of Project “Your Past and your Future: Refugee Voices” is to build a foundation for future personal regrowth and development for millions of children who would otherwise not be heard. The work in Phase 1 of the project will be designed to be scalable to reach a much larger constituency over the following 12 months.
ART: Renowned war artist Arabella Dorman will lead the children through a therapeutic art programme giving them the skills, confidence and materials that they need to express their hopes, fears and stories in the most immediate, accessible and universal language of art.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Project Hello World will teach the children in the refugee camps how to take photographs in order to document their lives in pictures and imagine their futures.
AUDIO: crowdCaster will send their team to the refugee camps to record and share the children’s thoughts, stories and sounds with the world – in their own voices. The audio content can be shared directly on the crowdCaster web-based and mobile audio sharing platform and on other broadcast and social media. The audio casts may support the art and photo elements of the project, but may also contain stories and experiences in their own right.
Projects For All will host a website for “Your Past, Your Future: Refugee Voices”, on which the children’s photos, artwork and audio recordings will be published. This will allow the global online community to finally hear from the refugee children directly, and put feelings, needs and dreams, faces and voices, to what are currently only numbers and statistics.
The website is aimed to become a reference point for those, who wish to connect with the children and help address the current human crisis. It will also support a movement to bring tangible and immediate support to these distressed communities.
Access to the Communities
A central factor for the effectiveness and authenticity of the project will be to gain access to the community in a trusted and respectful way.
Through careful interaction, the team of Refugee Voices will get to know the community, and then help them craft their stories into effective and material, i.e. art, photography and audio. Leadership and structure may need to be sensitively introduced initially. However, the view of the project is that, as time goes by, this will be less of a requirement and the community will take ownership of the project and use it in a way most beneficial to them.
Ultimately it is the passion of the community around the narrative that will take the messages forward and make them effective. Social Media (i.e. Twitter and Facebook) will then share the messages with an even wider audience.
Project Hello World is the education project of the UK/US based non-profit organisation Projects For All. Hello World builds outdoor, solar powered Internet kiosks ("Hello Hubs") with large touch screen monitors, rugged keypads, cameras and audio equipment. They are loaded with educational software and games. They are connected to the Internet so that children can explore the world’s body of knowledge without limitation, and share their stories with the world.
crowdCaster is a UK based social enterprise launched in 2015 by Online Radio Broadcasting Limited. Its mission is “Giving People a Voice” through its revolutionary social broadcasting web-based and mobile applications. It’s an informing, uplifting and empowering human experience, which brings communities together in every part of the world, offering the human voice as a force for good. The platform provides in-app recording and sharing of audio casts in an easily discoverable format.
Arabella Dorman is an internationally renowned portrait painter and war artist whose work hangs in public institutions and private collections around the world. Arabella’s conflict art is drawn from first hand experience of working with British forces in Southern Iraq (2006) and Afghanistan (2009–2014) and more recently, with refugees in Lesbos (2015). Arabella’s recent installation, “Flight” at St James’s Piccadilly, received global critical acclaim and raised over GBP 14,000 for Doctors of the World and Starfish Foundation. Her last exhibition, “Before the Dawn” at La Galleria Pall Mall, raised over GBP 30,000 for charities Afghanaid and Walking with the Wounded.
For more information and to support this project please contact us or send a donation. Thank you.
Photos and images by Arabella Dorman