Building Tomorrow Together: Syrian Children Participate in Art Workshop before Resettlement to the UK

Syrian children in Lebanon reflected about their future in the UK as part of the Building Tomorrow Together art project. Photo: IOM / Gabriela Boeing

 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) conducted the first workshop of the Building Tomorrow Together art project with Syrian children in Beirut, Lebanon, this week. While their parents attended Pre-Departure Orientation in preparation for their resettlement to the United Kingdom, the children aged between 6 and 10 were encouraged to think about their identities and their future in the UK, through two art activities.

During the first session, the children had the opportunity to reflect on their own personalities and express themselves while drawing and writing on a paper doll template.  At the end of the activity the children were encouraged to share their likes and dislikes with others. “I like music and my favourite food is egg.  I want to be a dentist when I grow up,” said six-year-old Asmaa.

In the second activity called A Shared Future, the children filled in a leaf shape with drawings that illustrate what they expect for their future in the UK. All the children highlighted the importance of housing and access to education. “If we have this, everything will be beautiful.  I also hope to make good friends and wish we could have toys and a garden to play in with my little brother,” explained Riyad, 10.

IOM staff in Lebanon will conduct additional sessions with children in the next couple of weeks and IOM staff in the UK will hold two workshops at a primary school in East London.

“The main objective of the Building Tomorrow Together project is to promote an exchange between children waiting to be resettled as refugees and those of similar age in the UK, so they can reflect on who they are as a person, celebrate diversity and think what a positive shared future would feel like,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission.

All the material produced by the children in both locations will be pieced together as an art installation. This installation in the shape of a tree, will be exhibited for the first time at the Refugee Week Marketplace at the Southbank Centre in London on 24 June 2017.  IOM staff in Lebanon and the UK will continue to run the workshops in Beirut and at schools in the UK, and the tree will continue to grow as children add their thoughts – symbolised by leaves, roots and people – to it.

The Building Tomorrow Together project is a partnership between IOM, Counterpoints Arts, Refugee Week and Lifeworlds Learning.

For further information, please contact Gabriela Boeing at IOM UK, Tel: + 44 20 7811 6054, Email: gboeing@iom.int

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