Storytelling through Art workshop
We are working with about 25 mixed gender (ages range between 7-16) syrian refugees from Zarqa area. The workshop will be for a week from 9am to 1pm. Most of the children came from Zaa’tari camp. They come to the Family Guidance and Awareness Center in New Zarqa. We are going to drive two hours a day for a week from Amman (Capital of Jordan, to Zarqa). In Zarqa the weather is hotter than Amman, because Zarqa is more desert than Amman is more hilly and has mountains, therefore cooler.
We are working with director Kother Khalafat who runs these programs and met with the founder Naida Bushanaq, who founded this center in 1982 and has an amazing vision. We have the support of Khoula Abu Raya. Noor Doukmak, Manal Mraish, Layla, Zina D, Muhammed Al Jabour, Liea and Zara from Florida, and Sara Mraish Demeter were the mentors and then our guest artist Muhammed Abu Aziz.

On the first day, we had an incredible and invigorating experience. The children were very shy, polite, but with eager eyes to learn something new. We started with an introduction that went very well, everyone repeated the names they heard before their turn and made a comment or a movement. We had them draw whatever they liked on their hand- made name tags . They enjoyed this exercise and made them feel more relaxed. We had them draw different parts of the body on tri-folded 11x8 paper, each child drew one part of the body, we called this exercise weird body, for example the face, then folded the paper and the next child drew the body, then the third child drew the legs- they were free to draw various parts of the body of human or animal or whichever they thought, and each group of children collaborated together. The next activity was to give them two papers to draw a still-life once with eyes opened and once with eyes closed. Children learned from these two previous activities giving the freedom to express oneself is a great way to get rid of fear. We felt that they got rid of their inhibitions and learned to be steadfast. They learned to share and collaborate with each other and be a part of the community. During the activities we found that the children have not only the desire to draw and paint but they also have the imagination and innovation sense and the love to learn. Especially after we did the bananas exercise, where children had to put 3-6 bananas using three sheets of 11x 8 paper only to lift the bananas off the ground about 5 cm. They surprised us with how many kids quickly learned to do this exercise with such creativity and innovation. After the first day and these several activities, kids felt comfortable enough to share their ideas and their freely expressed their opinions.
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