“I learned how to take out what is inside me with courage and smoothness. I discovered many stories. I did not know how to express them. I grew up with a number of friends from different cultures. I knew some of their views about the refugees and they were very positive and I became more connected with my friends and most importantly I discovered what was inside my fifteen year old daughter – bold and civilized ideas and opinions.” (Male workshop participant, Heidelberg)
These heartfelt and stirring words come from a Syrian refugee who took part in an innovative creative therapeutic project that that our sister organisation, Media Support Partnership (MSP), has helped to fund over the past two years. The Syria Trojan Women Project (TWP) works with Syrians in Jordan, Germany and Scotland to facilitate storytelling by the participants in a safe and supportive environment, and then co-create and produce radio drama scripts for broadcast on domestic and international radio stations. The approach has both psycho-social and wider awareness raising aims, and has clearly had a positive impact on both participants and partner organisations:
“This opportunity gave me a feeling of relief when I got to express my stories and experiences. I valued this as my family are currently all over the world and so this was an opportunity to share my experience. Throughout … I felt respected as well as my opinions and I felt very comfortable. The group including the participants and staff felt like a family.” (Male workshop participant, Aberdeen)
“I highly recommend the workshop experience – for both the Syrian new Scots, and staff supporting them too. We’ve experienced some challenges in the city trying to grow capacity amongst the families, unite them and organise them to elevate their concerns in a constructive way. Prior to the workshops, we couldn’t engage the families in conversations about building capacity and working together without arguments and high drama! With some irony, what the radio drama workshops have seemed to deliver is a new found calm and identity as a collective. We’re now talking about the families setting up a charity, working together towards common goals and helping all refugees in Aberdeen. It really has been quite striking the difference in energy and sense of purpose.” (Female refugee projects manager, Aberdeen Council).
As a Scottish organisation we are particularly pleased to have been able to support Syrian refugees resettled in Scotland, resulting in two pilot episodes of Aberdeeni – My Aberdeen – an Arabic radio drama. In addition a key purpose of MSP’s funding was to underwrite short term costs and enable TWP to fundraise for larger sums to provide continuity and security of funding. It is currently embarking on a new initiative in Glasgow to produce Euripides’ Trojan Women (originally performed in Jordan and then on tour as Queens of Syria in the UK).
Further information is available here.